Friday, July 17, 2009

Food waste piling up at stores?

I am writing to you to express my utter disgust at a food wastage policy that I discovered when shopping in a Tesco Express store in Ocean Village, Southampton.

I entered the store in the evening time and proceeded to go to the bakery section. Whilst there was a sizeable quantity of pastries etc left on the shelf, one of the members of staff was loading them into an already full dustbin size bag of pastries and I was informed that they were being thrown away. Whilst I was told that I could still buy the ones on the shelf at the full price (just before they'd been put in the bag), I was told that neither I nor the members of staff could take them for free and thus preventing the shocking food wastage that was occurring.

This slightly baffled me as I was told that even though the food was to be thrown away, the staff had been told explicitly by the store manager that any attempt to take the food home that was to be thrown away would be considered as theft and would result in the loss of their job. Adding to this puzzling and ridiculous practice was the fact that I was told that such food wastage was common in that store, to the extent that sometimes, due to space issues or delivery sizes, the food would be transferred directly from the delivery van to the rubbish bin without even seeing the shelf. Perfectly edible food. That has been transported in expensive, fuel-thirsty lorries halfway across the country.

In these times where fuel-economy and food shortages are key issues that need to be taken seriously by large corporations as they finally take up some vestige of global responsibility this (admittedly minor on the grand scale of things) practice, to me, revealed a worrying disregard for such matters and a deeply perturbing hypocrisy.

In Southampton alone, there are plenty of organisations and groups that would be more than happy to distribute (in an environment of quality control and food standards observance) the left over (or unused) food to the many disadvantaged people that populate the city.

Therefore I request that you heed this complaint and address this issue by re-examining such scandalous wastage policies and exploring the alternatives to throwing the food away.

Yours Sincerely,

Tom Price - Customer, Tesco Express Ocean Village Southampton