Hunger – A Preventable Tragedy

20 Aug
Garbage, Beijing

Garbage, Beijing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you know what happens to that perfectly good double cheeseburger that you ordered with no pickles when you return it to the fast food restaurant because they put pickles on it?  Well, if they don’t break the rules and just toss it back under the heat lamp for the next customer, they toss it.

Perfectly good food, tons of it, gets tossed in the garbage every single night all around the world.  Why?  Because our laws are set up that way.

If a restaurant makes too much food (and they do every single day) the law says that for them to get a better tax break on the ‘loss’, they must throw it in the trash.  If they donate it to the needy – the poor, the homeless – they don’t get a break on their taxes due to Uncle Sam (or if they do, it’s not comparative to the ‘loss’ tax break).  In addition, they put LOCKS on their garbage containers, to intentionally prevent the hungry that are willing to sacrifice their dignity and dig through garbage for food from reaching it.  In fact, should someone decide to breach these holy bastions of garbage to relieve the ache in their bellies, they can be arrested for stealing

Whilst it is perfectly legal for the government and news reporters to dig through your garbage on the street (because it has been discarded by the owner), it is ILLEGAL for the homeless to search through the garbage of restaurants for food, and if caught can and will be charged with theft, as well as vandalism if they damaged property (broke the lock, etc) to get inside.  This hardly seems fair to me.

It seems to me that government should start penalizing companies for food loss.  Consider if a restaurant normally claimed 25% food loss on their taxes, and donated nothing.  If the government changed their laws to state that a company was only allowed to claim a 5% food loss, yet able to claim 25% food reclamation (donating to the needy), then not only would more food be donated, but companies and restaurants would make more of an effort not to have so much waste in the first place!

In addition to this, in 2006 a new law was passed that many restauranteurs do not know about.  The blog ‘Tigers & Strawberries‘ said this much better than I can, so I’ll quote two paragraphs from their article located here to explain:

“The reason why food is not donated to hunger relief organizations has to do with the fear of being legally liable if, due to improper storage or reheating after the food is released into the hands of whatever individuals or organizations to which it is donated, someone or a group of persons fall ill from food borne disease.

That sounds like a reasonable fear, unless one knows about the federal law which protects organizations, corporations and individuals who donate food in good faith to non-profit organizations for the relief of hunger, from legal liability in the unlikely case of illness related to the food donation.

This law, called The Federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, came into effect in 1996, so there is really no excuse for corporate restaurant chains to -not- donate their food to the needy through non-profit organizations.”

The author goes on to explain what you can do to help spread the word of this (not so new) little-known law.  If you are interested in helping to get restaurants donating, please check out this blog.  She has a whole series of articles regarding this subject.

Hunger is a problem that we should NOT have in our society today.  There is absolutely no need for it whatsoever, save the greed and callousness of business and government.  There’s more than enough food, we’re just not allowed, encouraged or enabled to give it, where the abundance is the most.

4 Responses to “Hunger – A Preventable Tragedy”

  1. spiritchild1972 August 20, 2013 at 8:30 am #

    But I thought by law, once you throw it out it is public property? I thought once it goes in the bin and is placed in the curbside or in the big dumpster bins it is considered public property. Because that’s how dumpster divers get away with it without getting arrested. It is out right wrong that a hungry person has to watch all that good food go to waste. It’s a pity someone can’t invent a way of producing energy from our own waste.


    • KraftedKhaos August 21, 2013 at 4:21 am #

      They more than likely have, but just haven’t figured out a way to make a bajillion dollars off of it at the same time. :-/

      Money. It’s what it always boils down to, innit? 😦


  2. vozey August 20, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    I wonder if the reasons behind fear of liability comes from that the protection only applies to non-perishable food items. I don’t know, but I agree with you. Wasted food is commonplace in this country, so I don’t understand why there are starving people.

    I live on a farm, so food is almost never wasted. Slop goes to the pigs, goats, or the cows. And, even then, I’m the type to freeze it if I know I’ll eat it.


    • KraftedKhaos August 21, 2013 at 4:23 am #

      From my understanding, this isn’t the case, it USED to be, that if someone got sick from already cooked donated food, the donator (read: business) could be held liable, but they passed the law, which is similar to the medical good Samaritan law from my understanding, if it’s done in good faith, they cannot be held liable.

      I miss living on a farm… but I think it won’t be long now until we are all farming, or finding ourselves starving.


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