The Big Waste

Last night, the Food Network aired The Big Waste. Apparently, it was a cooking competition using food that would normally have been tossed.

Not having cable, I didn’t catch the show. But I’ll be sure to add it to this post if video becomes available. In the meantime, who saw it? Thoughts?

What I can say is that it’s heartening to see a major television network tackle the topic of food waste and enlist a major food personality like Bobby Flay to do so. So I’m optimistic that this is a positive sign!

(Also–the show reairs Saturday at 4 p.m. EST. )

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47 Comments

  1. Andrew
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    I saw the show last night. Was very interested as I just finished reading your book about 3 weeks ago (recommended on the blog “tedstake.com” many months ago)

    The show was well done, even if it was somewhat staged.

    Whoever produced this show clearly has read your book. The introduction at the top of the show explained how many football stadiums we could fill with the food wasted in the US every year. Sounds familiar?

    The chef “contestants” (two teams, men vs women) had 48 hours to procure enough wasted food to feed a banquet of 100 people. With one team “winning” based on the votes of the diners. No actual prizes were awarded. Clearly, the producers had this all lined up for the chef-stars, as they had no “strike-outs” and they seemed to find it easy to hook up with wholesalers, farm producers, retailers etc. who were ready to go on-camera and provide them with food waste.

    Still, the food waste itself seemed genuine. Produce culled from retailers due to blemishes or other cosmetic defects. Food from pick-your-own farms that would not be selected by customers that would otherwise rot, as well as lots of other farm produce waste, like unharvested peaches. They also visited wholesalers and food processors and picked up loads of other waste, like the type you describe in the book. Overstock, returned, blemished, damaged or otherwise unwanted items (like beef hearts and tounge, or a “bruised” 1/2 halibut). Although I wasn’t convinced that the flour they obtained was genuine waste, as the excuse was that they didn’t want to mix one bag of flour with another so this was the leftover flour. Really? Anyhow, they also got hooked up with a “freegan” who took them dumpster diving outside a supermarket in NYC for loads of bread, produce, premade foods. Mr. Freegan got invited to the banquet. The sources of food waste featured in the show seemed to come right from the pages of your book (nothing on plate waste).

    When they got all the food back to the kitchen, a food-safety expert tested everything to be sure it would be safe. Everything passed, except for one hunk of fatty prosciutto that had not been properly refrigerated. The chef argued that since the meat was cured it was safe, but the safety expert didn’t seem to care, presumably because it was to be served raw, so the chef said she would keep the meat for herself since it was perfectly good.

    The chefs themselves (all big food network stars) all seemed to be genuinely disturbed by what they saw in terms of waste. They all agreed that they probably operated their own restaurants with unnecessarily high standards, and that there were steps they could take to reduce waste.

  2. amy
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I watch the show last night and was horrified at how much waste there is that food could be gather and given to the free stores to help feed the hungery

  3. Cyn
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    I watched the show and was horrified. Why, when so many people in this country are going hungry, is it allowed to happen. Something needs to be done–I loved that the chefs all said (of course, talk is cheap) this would definitely change the way they look at food and purchase it for their restaurants, etc. But 4 chefs does not make a dent. How does one spread the word and get supermarkets etc. to sign on to do something about this. Why are they not contacting food banks across the country to pick this up; why can’t supermarkets have a section for “seconds”. Hell clothing stores have existed for years that sell overstock, seconds, last year’s fashions; why can’t food producers do the same??

  4. Posted January 9, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Thanks for describing the setup, Andrew. Glad to hear they had read my book…and that the chefs seemed to take the waste to heart. We’ll see if this is just a blip on the radar or whether the Food Network and/or the chefs revisit the topic.

  5. Posted January 9, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Any and Cyn, I hope being horrified was a common reaction! Cyn, Many supermarkets do donate food, but it’s just a question of what kinds of foods they donate. You can ask your local store’s manager if they donate already. Some stores do have a section for seconds, but I’d love to see that idea become more widespread.

  6. elissa
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    found your site because of the show….what an eye opener! It has been a long time since something I watched on tv has made me have a reaction. I am now looking into something that I can do in my area in NJ. I am going to use your site as a jumping off basis and look into this topic further. I love to cook. In my own small way I have been giving my dinner leftovers to my neighbors that live alone and do not always make a home cooked meal for themselves. Not wasting food is such a wonderful feeling and having others enjoy my cooking makes me happy. I just never thought about it on a larger scale until now. I hope I can find some ways to take unwanted food and prepare and give it to those in need.

  7. kathy
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I was so impressed with the dishes that were made from the leftover/discarded food. We are definitely a wasteful country, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change. I already look at the seconds in some stores that I shop in and do buy certain things, but in some stores the stuff almost looks rotten and unusable. I remember hearing Paula Deen talking about doing making food for her boys when they were struggling out of blemished food. Hopefully grocery stores will offer more items so they don’t throw so much away.

  8. Kriks Picks
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I saw the show. I work in the food industry, so I already knew that food waste is a big issue. But I thought the show very dramatically demonstrated how the demand for ‘perfection’ and uniformity in restaurant food results in waste. I hope it helps raise awarenessw. I haven’t read your book (though I will now that I’ve learned about it). But as shocking as this show was, my understanding is that most food waste occurs after food is purchased by consumers – leftovers thrown away, good that’s allowed to go bad before its eaten (especially vegetables and dairy products), and even good food that’s tossed simply because it’s been in the refrig for a week.

  9. Posted January 9, 2012 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    @Kriks Picks, Glad to hear that the show pointed to our drive for uniformity and perfection as major causes of waste. Food waste occurs at every step of the food chain, and you couldn’t say that consumers are responsible for most of the waste. For better or worse, it’s fairly evenly dispersed. Thanks for the comment.

    @Kathy, You’re lucky that your stores sell seconds. These days, most places do not. Nice to hear from you.

    @Elissa, Glad you found the site and that you’re planning to look into the topic some more. I’d love to hear more about your ad-hoc dinner leftovers donation. For a similar thing, check out Egginabox.com

    Food is not trash–pass it along!

  10. JC
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    I found your website when I googled the show I watched last night. And just like the other viewers, I was also horrifed at the amount of food headed to the dumpsters or in compost piles. I think there are plenty of schools, churches and shelters that could use all of that wasted food. I have to admit, I am one of those supermarket shoppers that examines every bit of produce I buy. I think, with all honesty, I am squeemish about what I buy at the supermarket becuase I know most of it is hybrid, shipped and have no idea how many days it sat on a truck or for how long it traveled. I can also honestly say that I do know fresh, delicious produce grown on a farm like the farms they showed in upstate NY on the show last night, grow funny-looking, not-so-perfect vegetables and I would defnitely pick those. The show was definitely an eye-opener for me. I will defnitely shop with much more consideration and know that just becuase there is a bruise or the food isn’t perfect, doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with it. I also agree with Kriks Picks post regarding consumer waste. I know I’ve wasted too much of what is in my fridge and within the last few weeks made a vow to be more cautious about that as well and have improved on my fridge waste (and have saved a lot of money doing so). Food is a precious gift and we should not ever take it for granted. Now that I’ve found your site, I am looking forward to picking up a copy of your book and reading it. Thanks!

  11. Renee
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Jonathan – It is very encouraging that people have come to your site because of that show. I hope they will be inspired to read your book. I first got it at the library (free!) then purchased it on Amazon as it was on sale and purchasing a few dollars more got me free shipping. (So, it was either buy something or pay shipping – no brainer). I bought it with the purpose of passing it around to anyone who will read it. My daughter-in-law has it now.

  12. Renee
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    JC – I first became aware of my food waste by reading the blog thefrugalgirl.com. Every Friday, Kristen posts her food waste for the week and it has been very helpful to me. Lots of good tips there.

  13. Keya
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Saw the show last night and it definitely was an eye-opener. So much that I am trying to figure out how I can utilize my church and employer (each month we have at least one community event we are doing) can do something about raising awareness of food waste as well as how to get the leftover food into the hands of the homeless.
    But I’m also trying to educate myself and find ways to educate my family. My husband and daughter are very wasteful in relation to food. They do not like leftovers while I will eat something until it goes bad (not just via expiration date). However, I’m bad myself in taking meat out to defrost in the fridge and leaving it in the fridge for several days becuase I’m either not in the mood or the family decides to go out to eat. So the defrosted meat ends up in the garbage.
    Another thing that struck me is that a way to reduce food waste is for me to increase my cooking knowledge. The cooks knew several ways to utilize the food items they found. Instead of always going out to the store to buy items that are missing from my “recipes.” If I knew how to put together meals based upon the ingredients already in my house, I would definitely be able to reduce my family’s food waste.

  14. Renee
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Keya – I’m so fortunate that my husband is great about leftovers. You might try framing food waste in terms of money. For example, ask for a $5 bill, crumple it up and throw it in the trash. In a nice way, of course! It’s the same thing. Plus your time and effort. Best of luck!

  15. Posted January 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    I watched the show last night, too. I hope it re-airs soon so that I can tell everyone I know to watch it. It was a huge eye-opener. I have finally found something decent to watch on Food Network. I hope they follow up with similar shows.

    A search for the show online revealed your site, so count me as another person who will be buying your book soon.

    I was impressed with the “Freegan” they interviewed on the show enough that I think this man should have his own episode about being a Freegan. However, he may not want to give out too many tips unless it they pay him very well! Perhaps you should look into finding this man and interview him for a follow up book to yours?

    I think one of the big reasons why businesses don’t offer this food waste to non-profits is liability. A friend of mine is a chef who owns his own small breakfast & lunch shop. He buys from the local farmer’s market as much as he can. He said that a previous employer of his (an upscale restaurant in St. Louis, MO) used to give away the good food that they could not use/serve to a homeless shelter. One of the recipients supposedly chipped a tooth on the food and sued the shelter & the restaurant, winning a sizable amount from the court. Sure, they had insurance, but that ended their generosity immediately. As long as judges will award settlements for such idiocy, most businesses are going to choose likewise.

  16. Posted January 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    @GeekTinker, Nice to have you on the site. I’ll have to see if I can find that Freegan.

    I have to say: I don’t believe that story about the St. Louis restaurant being sued. Sounds like urban legend to me. The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act (1996) protects donors from liability when they donate food they deem to be in good condition. And this is a Federal shield law.

  17. Chris
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I watched the show last night and was appalled. 1st, I grew up in a home where we grew a lot of of our own produce. We didn’t throw something away just because it had a spot on it or had a worm in the corn. 2nd, it frustrates the life out of me that buying food today is so bloody expensive. If I found someplace that sold seconds like that, I’d buy it. I’ve found a couple of produce vendors over the years that sell tomato seconds or similar, but nothing on a decent scale.

  18. Posted January 9, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    @JC, Amen on the amount of good food being tossed for no good reason. Especially when there are shelters that would take it.

    @Renee, Thanks for buying the book!I love The Frugal Girl. Her blog is great, and she seems to have more hours in the day than the rest of us. Plus, she’s mentioned in my book!

  19. Michele
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    I watched the show last night and I, too, was horrified. However, if we, as individuals, go to a farm and ask if we can have their seconds for free, I believe we would be refused. Correct? It seemed to me that many of the farms featured on the shows were growers for distributors perhaps? I also believe that if we went to a store and asked to look through their garbage, or ask if we can have (for free) the food they are throwing away, wouldn’t we also be refused? So tell me how to get around that.

  20. Posted January 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    I spend my morning blogging about this show. It’s terrible that people can’t settle for something less than perfect. I worked at a farmer’s market and we sold “seconds”. A lot of people liked paying less money for fruit that wasn’t quite perfect, but still most people didn’t want anything to do with that fruit, because it didn’t look good to them. The taste was no different.

  21. Cheryl
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    I watched The Big Waste last night and not realizing that there is THIS MUCH waste was horrifying! I see that on the Food Network website they have a Share Our Strength donation site. Don’t you think that’s a bit sarcastic?? On the one hand they have celebrity chefs making a gourmet meal for 100 “guests” ie., other chefs/food writers/celebrities who chose the team that made the most perfect meal. On the other hand, the people they should have been feeding were probably all the people they could have gathered out on the streets of NY who would have appreciated a hot meal. I watched and cried because I did not realize the wastefulness of this country. I was hoping that the show would end with a call to arms, but it didn’t. So what was the show about? Talent? Competition? Obesity? I don’t know. It was unsettling to be “entertained” by this type of food show. I am hoping that this would raise awareness about a solution to a “food “insecurity issue” in our country. (How that term was devised is unbelievable!) The fact that there were a few politicians in the group would have made more of an impact on Washington is to be seen. I doubt it, it seems foolhardy think that they would be able to connect the dots and bring this perfectly good food to tables of hungry people across the nation. I did not think the chefs were that upset. Could no one mention, after the garbage can award was handed out, that the guests and the tv network needed to brainstorm this very severe problem and use their fists for clout and not just to hold a fork to their lips?

  22. JC
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Renee, thanks for the info, I’m going to check out the Frugal Girl blog. Every little bit of info helps!

  23. Renee
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Cheryl and Michelle – I haven’t seen the program yet, but already have my DVR set to record the re-airing. I share your frustration about how to deal with it all, and it would have been nice for the food network to give some options. Maybe in a future show? At least it spread more awareness and for those who are really concerned about it, maybe it will encourage them to research more. After reading Jonathan’s book last summer, I found that we do indeed have a food recovery group in my city. I haven’t yet decided about volunteering, but it’s an option. I also learned about composting with worms and have started my own bin in order to be a little more responsible for my own food waste. It’s a journey, one step at a time. Doing what you can is better than doing nothing. Just the fact there are more comments on this site is exciting!

  24. Cassandra
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I also have the same questions as Michelle. If we walked into a butcher shop, or a grocery store, would they just allow us to take what they are going to throw away for free? (I tend to doubt it)

    It also drives me nuts that in some areas stores can’t donate because of fear of litigation. It’s ridiculous.

  25. Jaime
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Maybe a waiver could be signed so that the store won’t be liable.

  26. Mollie
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    I watch the show the Big Waste on Foodtv and I must say that it was a eye opener. I would like to beable to work to help people become aware that fruits and veggies do not have to look perfect to be good. Also the can still taste good.

  27. Geo D
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    I had the opportunity to see the show last night. It was well done and I think it will help open the public’s eyes to the amount of food our country wastes. Some of the farmers said they experience over a 40% annual crop loss due to waste! The food whole sellers and also the retailers claimed they lost an average of $10,000-$15,000 a year due to food waste. After reading a lot of the comments above, one of the main questions I saw was “what can we do to resolve this issue”. I think the show was a great start and as a former chef of 14yrs my wheels were instantly turning. How about paying these places (meat markets, produce companies, farmers, etc…) a 1/4 of the cost for the food that’s destined to be tossed out. This will help these companies recoup some of their lost revenue. Open up a culinary school and teach the students all aspects of working in a restaurant. Students would learn:

    *Safe food handling, storage and kitchen sanitation.
    *Food preparation and menu planning. Appetizers, entrees, and desserts would be on the menu.
    *Floor skills to learn waiting on tables, busing tables, host/hostess. (As a bonus the students would be allowed to keep the tips they make).

    Revenue made from the restaurant would be used to purchase the discounted food. If there is a surplus of food coming in the students will prepare the food to feed the homeless either in the restaurant or the local shelters.

  28. Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    @Geo D, that’s a neat idea. You should launch something like that! I’m not sure where you live, but that kind of waste avoiding culinary school restaurant would be a hit in Portland, Austin, Brooklyn, etc. But mostly Portlandia!

    DC Central Kitchen has a similar scheme going, but without the restaurant part. Even better, though, they train homeless people to be chefs.

  29. Cooper
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    I also found your site due to watching the show the other day. I was shocked thou I do admit I toss out alot of leftovers myself. I will be working on this! I volunteered my time at a local food bank only to vow to not return. I was disquisted with the amount of food they tossed in the trash out of fear of being sued. I would rather take a meal or food can to the man standing on the street sadly instead.

  30. Debbie
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Why isn’t that food sold at a discount?? I grew up with my mother cutting bruises out of fruit and handing me the rest to eat. It was perfectly good food. With so many starving people, doesn’t common sense dictate that eatable food should not be thrown out?

  31. Posted January 10, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    I watched the show also and was really disturbed and also ashamed about food waste in this country. I admit to being ‘fussy’ about food I buy as far as wanting it to ‘look perfect’ although I do buy old bananas because I can freeze them for smoothies. I promise to change my habits. One thing that’s really disturbing are the laws and regulations put in place in cities and towns regarding leftover food. Where is the logic in putting perfectly good food into dumpsters when it could easily be used someplace else. I help serve food at times at a local club and if we serve the food at a buffet we can ‘give away’ what’s leftover. If it’s a self serve buffet it needs to be thrown away. We seem to do many strange things in this country in the interest of ‘safety’. I sincerely hope that whoever watched this program was moved to change their habits too and also hope the celebrity chefs make some changes at their restaurants.

  32. Bernie
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Glad so many people have found you. We’ve really liked your book and reading your blog. The amount of food waste out there is stunning. Thanks for keeping a light shining on the problem.

  33. WilliamB
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Belatedly I realized the connection between consumers insisting on perfection in their food and stores wasting it. If consumers complain about every last bruise and return a whole box of strawberies because one is bad, the store learns to throw out that box before it’s sold. I saw this in action one day, with my store throwing out 10-15 gal-worth of boxes that had one bad berry. It hurt just to see that.

    Therefore I have decided to accept a small amount of bad produce in a container and point out the connection to what I think are sympathetic audiences.

  34. Joanne Kennedy
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    This show was great as far as I’m concerned. What was more priceless than what was shown was the look on the faces of the chefs as they saw the waste in this country. I realize “it’s all about money” in this country,but that attitude has put people on the the streets, sick, out of jobs and in hunger mode. Who and how long will it take to change this even a little? Do we all realize that if some of this waste was turned into edible food (ie tomatoes into marinara sauce) it could a. create jobs and b. curtail hunger. Maybe the faces of those chefs will turn into works of charity and possibly create programs. We can do it, we have to want to!

  35. Posted January 12, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I was unable to catch “The Big Waste” on the Food Network this past Sunday but will watch the rebroadcast. Thank you for sharing the specifics about the rebroadcast.

    I just started a local food magazine. As I’ve been researching various food topics to define meaningful content for our magazine, the subject of food waste was just beginning to eat at the edges of my conscience. In fact, I’ve seen several references to your book, Jonathan, and look forward to reading it.

    I wanted to mention an organization that we covered in a recent article that may help them take action to address food waste in their communities. The national organization, USA Harvest, was started in Kentucky in 1987 and now has 130 chapters across the nation. The all-volunteer organization collects overages from business donors, including restaurants and markets, and transports them to approved charities that assist the needy. Our local chapter, Collier Harvest, has been in operation since 1992 and has redistributed millions of pounds of food. It is not the total solution but if people are looking for a way to make a positive difference, this is a step in the right direction.

  36. Michelle
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Jonathan! I’m the freegans daughter, I would love it if you contacted him and got him to expose his knowledge!
    Go on FB and look up Rainy Day SocialClub, that’s him :) )

  37. Lisa Engel
    Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    I was very confused by this show. Compost is not “waste”. It is the way we naturally fertilize the next crop. If we don’t have compost, we use chemical fertilizers and that is not desirable.

    I always buy off of reduced produce shelves when the produce is off season for my area of the country and I didn’t store enough from my gardens. They can’t keep enough in stock so why aren’t these farmers putting out bins of reduced produce that is considered damaged?? It would be gone in a hot minute.

    The thing with the meat is very confusing to me. The markets I go to have variable weight packages of cuts that cover that. Oddly, the off cuts are usually more expensive than the whole bird or other cut. Someone once remarked to me that chicken wings are the most expensive part of the bird. So, what exactly is the problem here? Is it the consumer, or the farmer or butcher who couldn’t give a rat’s backside about where their production is going?

    I have a hobby farm and know exactly where everything is going. We, the dogs, chickens, turkeys and goats get fed, then the ends go to the worms which produce high quality compost which feeds the next season of gardening. Anything extra goes out to the neighbors, coworkers and food banks. Any decent operation would do the same. Nothing is “wasted”. It just goes back into the system and makes everything richer and more productive for the next round.

    I think it’s telling that the Food Network doesn’t allow comments for that show.

  38. Kate
    Posted January 14, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    I’m watching it right now and frankly it makes me very upset. Not only do most people in our Nation not grow or raise any food of their own, but they then expect perfection in all the food that they buy. I love picking from my garden and not having everything look perfect and like wax food. The imperfections are organic, they are a part of food. As long as the food is safe we need to be using ALL OF IT to the best of our abilities. I am now pumped up to see what I can do to make a positive difference in my communities waste and see what happens and where it goes! Will you do the same?!!?!?

  39. Posted January 14, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Well done Food Network. Eye opening! Re-thinking my purchases at the grocer.

  40. Darlene
    Posted January 14, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Just want to know, where I can get a copy of this show? I’m a Green Team Leader where I work and would love to show this to my co-workers at our next meeting of how much good food is being thrown away.

  41. ladychef
    Posted January 14, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    I watched the show both airings because I was shell shocked after the first time and just had to see it again. I am a very small caterer but I would most DEFINITELY purchase produce and things that had blemishes. As Bobby Flay said about the cabbage “who cares, it’s going to be cole slaw”. That is the attitude I have. However, I’m in the Philly area and there are so many restaurants that are competing against each other that perfection in everything is what they strive for. In other words, if a caprese salad didn’t have the most perfect tomatoes, they couldn’t charge the $18 that they charge for it. Nonetheless, the waste is sinful and I wish I could find a meat market or produce market or farm stand that would allow me to take things off their hands. As far as churches, shelters and soup kitchens, I am sure they could get volunteers to pick up items that purveyors have to PAY to have taken away as the gentleman in New York stated. If they don’t have to pay and they get a tax deduction for donating it, it is a win win situation! It makes me absolutely sick to see the waste and know that many of our own children in this country would starve if it weren’t for free school breakfasts and lunches. And what about bakeries everywhere? Are they throwing out day old bread? Do you know how much french toast that could make along with blemished peaches or berries for our kids? And “sell by dates” are a joke. They are NOT expirations. Yogurt, milk, etc. could immensely help our kids. This whole thing makes me want to take out a billboard. I can tell you this? I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions but I just made one. I am going to start calling, one by one, the produce and meat purveyors in my county to see just what THEY are doing as far as waste. If I could get my hands on ingredients like the chefs did on this special, I’d donate my time and do a dinner for 150 too, judges or not!

  42. Delaney
    Posted January 15, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    I was shocked when I watched the show last night and saw the amount of food that’s wasted. It was really eye opening and a good way to get the word out about food waste. I wanted to take all the poor, unwanted peaches, apples, corn cobs, eggs, chickens, fish and cabbages home with me. Unfortunately, the show didn’t really mention a good way to help with that kind of commercial food waste.

  43. Mary
    Posted January 17, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    My hubby and I watched the show and were amazed and frustrated, I used to work at a school “lunch lady” and the food they waste is horrible and down right sad, all the hungrey people in our world and we throw it away…needless to say we now eat or freeze all of our left-overs.
    Thanks fo r the eye opener!
    Mary

  44. DIZZO
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 4:51 am | Permalink

    Are there produce farms, retailersthe,and distributors like ones portrayed on the show in Sacramento?

  45. Me
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I used to work for Publix who are #1 some of the worst wasters around. Because they have what they call the highest food standard they throw away food much sooner than other grocery chains. With a much higher perfect food expectation. #2 Being sued over donated food is not an urban legend. Publix has a standard non food donation policy with a manager discretionary clause due to being sued after donation to a food pantry. Someone who had received donations from a food pantry sued Publix after becoming ill. Now usually when a manager does choose to donate, they donate bakery items. All other unsaleable (usually past date. Most things are usually disposed of in between 24 to 48 hours) items are crushed in a garbage crusher so that food can not be picked out of the dumpster. I have personally been required to crush 2 to 3 shopping carts full of breads cakes and cookies when I worked in the bakery on a daily basis. Wrap your brain around that. Not including produce or meat. Just the baked goods. Every day in just 1 store, 2 to 3 shopping carts over full of baked goods. Now this was the one store I worked at. The other Publix I worked at did donate bread and cake to the local food pantry and since I did not work in the bakery there I have no idea how much of the food was crushed but, I do know that bakery items were still crushed at night. They did not donate to the pantry on a daily but, a weekly basis.

  46. Me
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I am sorry in my last post I left out the fact that when I asked why we did not donate food items at the one store the bakery manager had the store manager explain to me about the lawsuit and clause. She chose not to participate in food donations because the last law suit cost Publix a large chunk of money and she did not want to be a part of causing another law suit.

  47. Lizz
    Posted November 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    I am watching show as I write this comment, and I agree with all those who are saddened at the amount of food wasted in this country. My view is, as I watch the chefs going to the farms and markets to gather their food, what is the outcome with these places once the chefs have taken what they need? If the owners and farmers themselves are so upset that they throw away tons of good food because it isn’t pretty or has a small defect, what have they done to remedy this. There must be local food kitchens or shelters that would be more than happy to take an egg that is too large for the carton, or a head of cabbage that is a little to small for someone else. Why haven’t they tried to donate this food instead of throwing it away? Dozens of chickens are thrown away because a bone gets broken during processing, tomatos and peppers end up on composte heaps because they have fallen to the ground, produce thrown away because it has slight bruises or nicks. While it is commendable that The Big Waste shows us how petty and particular Americans have gotten about the food they will bring home to put in their refrigerators (only to throw it away because it goes bad), it would be more rewarding if the farmers and market owners became a part of the solution and began donating their “waste” as opposed to just throwing it away.

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