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Wasted Food

So you go to the grocery store. The first thing you see is the bakery area and the donuts. YUM!! You make a bee line for the bulk case and gaze at the wondrous selection. What to chose…what to chose…? Finally you decide that donut holes are the way to go. You select all the donut holes except the plain ones. Sprinkles, sugared, nut covered…that’s the way to go. You fill a bag with your selections and then you turn around. Wait…what is that? It’s a container with 20 donut holes in it! And there aren’t any plain ones to be seen! Why buy them in a bag when you can get the exact same thing in a nice plastic container? So you take the bag o’ donut holes and place it on the tray in the bulk case. That way if someone else wants just one or two donut holes, they can reach into the bag and select one. You pick up the plastic container full of donut holes and go on your merry way. Aren’t I just a smart shopper, you think to yourself. Yes, I am!!

Here’s the thing. No one will stick their hand into a bag of donut holes to pick out one or two when one has no idea who put those donut holes in the bag. They will just look at the trays that now just contain plain donut holes and walk away. What happens to the bag o’ donut holes? It goes in the compost bin!

Yup…wasted food. How do I know this? I work in the bakery department of a local grocery store. When I came in this morning to make the donuts, I had to clean out the bulk case of yesterday’s baked goods. The bagels, donuts, turnovers, danish, and croissants all get tossed in the compost bin. Including the bag of donut holes I found on the tray in the bulk case.

How do I know that the person who put the bag there purchased a container of donut holes? Because I make the containers as well and we had three there yesterday and only one left this morning. More than likely the scenario above is just what happened.

What people don’t realized is that we can’t give that food away. We just can’t. Who knows who has opened the bulk case doors and touched the food or sneezed or coughed on it. I don’t know how many times I will see a parent selecting a muffin or donut and their child is reaching in their little hand and touching all the baked goods within reach. A child who was just picking his nose or sitting on the floor or petting the dog. That child just touched a bunch of baked goods in a bulk case.

I’m not trying to gross you out. Just telling you why the items get composted instead of given to the local food pantry. We can’t give food away that the public may have contaminated.

So the next time you are wandering around the store and the store is open for a few more hours, please make your bulk case selection carefully. Because once it leaves the bulk case..even if it is in a bag on the counter of the bulk case…once it leaves the bulk case, if you don’t purchase it, it will be composted. The donut holes in the bag could have been sold to someone if they weren’t in a bag. If they had been left in the tray, someone else may have purchased them.

The same holds true for deli items you may have thought you wanted and then decided in the canned good section that you really didn’t want the sliced ham but wanted tuna fish instead. If you leave that bag of ham in the canned good section, it will be composted. If you take it back to deli and say you changed your mind, they will compost it.

These are the rules of the grocery store. We can not risk someone else getting sick from contaminated food. Not in this litigious society we live in. So, in order to not get sued, we toss food. In the compost bin. Wasted. When so many in this world go hungry. It is wasted food. And that is just the way it is.

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