A frightening statistic when considering 850,000 people visit food banks in Canada annually, and 42.2 million Americans are considered food insecure, or VLFS (Very Low Food Security).
With these figures in hand one begins to wonder at what point are serious reforms to the retail industry necessary, to ensure people on the poverty line or below are getting enough food to meet their needs.
As of February 2016, the French senate unanimously mandated, prevention of supermarkets wasting, purposely spoiling, or destroying food. Forcing supermarkets to now instead donate all food not purchased to charities and food banks. The UK is similarly following the French, with a food waste bill introduced in the commons September 2015 by the Labour Party MP Kerry McCarthy, however, the bill has been delayed into reading several times the latest of which was March 11, 2016, and is unlikely to proceed any further.
– (Source: theguardian)
Adding to the growing problem, retailers, and supermarkets such as Walmart are simply throwing away large quantities of food not yet passed the expiration date. People like Rob Greenfield aim to make a difference, while at the same time creating awareness by finding tons of food in garbage bins out back of stores. In particular, two Walmart stores in the Toronto area illustrate the depth of the problem throwing out thousands of dollars worth of bakery, dairy, and produce products.
Making it even more difficult to gauge the depth of waste supermarkets such as Costco, Metro, Sobeys, Loblaws, Save-On-Foods, and other Walmarts routinely use compactors making it nearly impossible to see what they are throwing out. After CBC Marketplace broke the story not only did Walmart refuse to comment on camera they also moved their garbage bins to a locked up location and issued a statement saying…
“On some occasions, food which has not passed its best-before date is deemed unsafe for consumption,” Walmart said in it’s statement. “As a rule, we don’t place fresh food items on display for sale if the quality is not acceptable.”
Some of the products may have been returns, the company said.
Mevawala says he was given a different reason for the waste when he worked at Walmart.
“Once I asked my manager, ‘Why do we have to just throw it away? Why can’t we just, you know, give it away to some people that really need it?'” he says. “And the manager [said], ‘If you just give it away to people, then why are they going to buy it from us?'”
Walmart Canada says Mevawala’s claim doesn’t reflect its approach to food waste.
This solidly outlines the Insidious Minds at work within the billion dollar food waste problem and highlights the need for such steps as the French mandated supermarket laws, and why they should be applied here in North America. As we look into this the more we become aware we don’t have a food problem, we have a capitalism problem.
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