Tossing the food in the trash bin

It never ceases to amaze me how much food is wasted in wealthy countries. The amount of food peopleAirlinefood
leave on their plates in restaurants and cafeterias could probably feed the entire National Football League. Perhaps even Andy Reid.

It’s not just customers who toss out food. It’s also stores and restaurants. At the grocery store I frequent, at least a tenth of the produce goes to waste, by my estimation. The store does put old produce on a discount shelf, but often too late. Not many customers want to buy a pound of mold, even if it does come with a few strawberries around it. Food is also wasted at the deli. I’ve seen them toss out a whole pizza because it was sitting around for too long. I wish they’d do the same with some of their employees.

Having lived in developing countries, I’m reluctant to throw out food. I’ve seen poor people eating whatever they could get their hands on. I’ve seen poor people going through trash bins for food. So you’ll forgive me if I try to finish every morsel on my plate — and sometimes my children’s plates too. If we’re at a restaurant, we’ll almost always take leftover food home in a "doggy bag," even if I have to bark at the waiter to get one.

I’m glad I don’t work for a company that serves food. I’d have trouble throwing it out, especially when it’s untouched by a customer. I’d probably end up being fired or suspended, like a certain British Airways steward.

British Airways have suspended a cabin crew steward for eating a
muffin that was discarded on a passenger’s meal tray, it was reported
today.

BA are treating the incident as theft after he was reported at Heathrow airport on Monday.

The
man’s collegues are furious with the decision, branding the airline
‘heavy handed’ and accused them of acting like a ‘police state’.

One BA worker told The Sun: "The cabin crew member on a long-haul flight took a muffin destined for the bin.

"Now his career hangs in the balance. Everyone is up in arms – it is a disgusting way to treat a member of staff." [Link]

I’m not sure if the steward was really hungry — or just didn’t want the muffin to go to waste. Whatever the case, it shouldn’t be a crime, as long as the steward wasn’t walking down the aisle, stuffing the muffin in his mouth, dropping crumbs into people’s hair.

What’s really a crime is that so much food ends up in the trash bin, when there are so many people who would love to have it — and not just Andy Reid.

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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