Surplus Food Essay

1659 Words 7 Pages
Surplus food donations from retailers to food banks can help minimise food waste produced in post-agricultural stages.
Considering the large amounts of surplus food that is produced in the United States, many may be shocked by the amount of people in the country who are not able to afford three nutritious meals per day. Many people rely on food banks or other charitable organisations such as soup kitchens and homeless shelters for food. Yet, considering the sheer amount of food that is wasted through disposal in the United States, obtaining food should not be so difficult. In order to rectify this situation, food retailers such as restaurants and supermarkets should donate surplus food stock to food banks and other charitable organisations
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Few consumers wish to purchase products with slight aesthetic defects, such as a bruised apple or ‘wrong’ coloured pumpkin. As such, many crops gathered from fields are culled by farmers to ensure that minimum standards for weight, size and colour are met. A Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report writes that a cucumber farmer estimated that less than half of all his produce leaves the farm, and 75 percent of cucumbers culled before sale are edible. Supermarkets also filter out produce in subpar condition (Plumer 2012). Plumer notes that stores throw out an average of estimated $2,300 worth of food that have neared expiration every day. In fact, food items are often pulled from shelves 2 to 3 days before its sell-by date because it looks bad. However, use-by/best-before dates on food items act as a guideline; most food is still edible past these dates. It is also perfectly legal to sell food past its expiration date in many states. Technical malfunctions in processing and refrigeration may also shorten the time in which food can be sold. Delays in transportation may cause food to be stored at improper temperatures for too long and spoil (Plumer, …show more content…
A food bank is a non-profit charitable organisation which collects and distributes perishable and prepared food to people having difficulty purchasing enough food to avoid hunger. Food banks often distribute collected food to community or government agencies such as food pantries, homeless shelters, senior centres and orphanages. Schneider (2013, p. 756) says that since the 1960s, it was recognised that soup kitchens did not have enough food to satisfy demands, while restaurants and supermarkets were throwing away food with only small blemishes. A partnership with local companies was set up to found the first food bank. The implementation of donations of edible food to social welfare services not only helps alleviate poverty and food insecurity, but also sets up a food waste prevention system in which as much edible food is recovered as

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