trashing the left-overs

We did our New Year grocery shopping today. We started at 6PM and went out the supermarket by 9PM, just in time when the supermarket closed shop for the day. But since my sister was hungry and wanted a quick bite, she rushed to buy some pork floss at this high-end pastry and bread shop, one of the remaining shops open.

What we saw saddened and bothered us big time.

A staff was putting all the left overs in a big plastic bag, taking time to mash them to pieces. While obviously, it’s meant for the trash, a part of me couldn’t believe what I saw and I just had to ask the server if all that bread–who a few hours ago, looked so pretty and yummy in their glass trays–were meant for the trash. The server said yes. Of course, we talked about how it’s really the company’s rules and is part of the quality assurance measures of the company.

Just to make it clear: I DO know that putting all left-over food from today’s business in the trash is part of ANY food store/fast food/bakery/restaurant’s quality maintenance and assurance measures. Just imagine having someone get all this food for free, getting sick in the process, and suing the poor company in the end. Kawawa naman si food company. It just bothers me, yun lang.

The reason why hunger is such an important issue for me and that seeing all these “designer” breads get trashed really bothered me is because for three years, I ingested all important facts on world hunger and wondered each and every time, when will the world ever find a solution for a problem as big as this. For three years, the facts and the figures unnerve me. It’s like seeing how lucky we are to eat good food not just thrice but sometimes even more in a day.

Do you know that a child dies every five seconds?

And it’s not because of malaria, or H1N1 or AIDS. It’s because of hunger. In fact, a lot more kids die of hunger than any of these diseases combined.

Part of my old company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities is this program called “Walk the World”, done in coordination with the UN-World Food Programme. World Food Programme or WFP, is the UN arm which battles and addresses the hunger issues of the world. If you think hunger appears only in countries like Somalia or Cambodia, you’d be surprised to know that in the Philippines, hunger is more prevalent than what we think. Hunger usually happens in war-torn areas of Mindanao where kids do not get enough nutrition to sustain their bodies and protect them from sickness. Usually, the WFP conducts feeding activities in conjunction with schooling initiatives to encourage children to attend and finish school.

Part of WFP’s fund raising efforts is through the generous donations of corporate partners (like my old company) and private individuals.

A part of me was wondering if it’s possible for fast foods or for food companies to have a memorandum of agreement with an institution (like an NGO for street kids, for example) where they can distribute the day’s left overs while being assured that they will not be held liable for anything. I mean, if the left overs are prepared right and packed right, quality shouldn’t be an issue right? I know this was still open for scrutiny and the idea alone presented a lot of loopholes.

As I’ve said, I am not saying that the current disposal practice is wrong. There’s a reason why policies such as these exist. What I’m saying is seeing all those good food go to the trash just bothers and saddens me.

I just hope that there will come a time when no kid will have to go to bed hungry, while at the same time and in another part of the country–a server stuffs thousands pesos worth of good food in the trash–just because.

It’s just freaking sad.

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