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Unused food not sold by supermarkets should be donated and/or recycled, not simply thrown away (2)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/5/2018 Category: Economics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 955 times Debate No: 113545
Debate Rounds (3)
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A lot of food that we waste as a country goes unnoticed, but numbers do not lie.


In 2010, an estimated 133 billion pounds of food from U.S. retail food stores, restaurants, and homes"valued at approximately $161 billion"went uneaten. (a statistic provided by the USDA Office of the Chief Economist).


In addition, 7.4 percent (9.4 million) of U.S. households had low food security in 2016.
What is low food security? "These food-insecure households obtained enough food to avoid substantially disrupting their eating patterns or reducing food intake by using a variety of coping strategies, such as eating less varied diets, participating in Federal food assistance programs, or getting emergency food from community food pantries (USDA Economic Research Service).
Furthermore, 4.9 percent (6.1 million) of U.S. households had very low food security at some time during 2016.
What is very low food security? "In these food-insecure households, normal eating patterns of one or more household members were disrupted and food intake was reduced at times during the year because they had insufficient money or other resources for food (USDA Economic Research Service).

If we were to donate the food wasted in supermarkets to provide for these low food security families, we could lower these numbers and provide a system both beneficial to decreasing supermarket waste and increasing food security in the U.S..

1. USDA | OCE | U.S. Food Waste Challenge | FAQ's | Information Sources,

2. "Key Statistics & Graphics." USDA ERS - Key Statistics & Graphics,


The process of actually donating food is easier said than done. The Donation of good that is past it"s exporan date as well as those that are almost expired requires a lot of logistical coordination. It also requires precise and through planning. While the idea sounds simple enough there"s a lot of coordination that stores and restaurants would have to go throughout in order to accomplish this grocery shops would need a lot of recourses and time . Elise Golan, the director for sustainable development at USDA. "The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," she said. "If you"re having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that"s not good for anybody." The process of donating expired or close to expiration date food sounds good on paper but the actual process is demanding and hard to accomplish.

"Why the US May Never Pass a Food Waste Law Like France." Google, Google,

Why Grocery Stores Don't Donate All Of Their Surplus Food to Charity,
Debate Round No. 1


Foods are not only easy to donate, it will also help bring in revenues for companies.

Here are 5 common examples of the hundreds of foods that may be eaten past their expiration date according to the Food Network:

a.Canned goods: The expiry date of canned foods usually indicates three years from when it's been shelved, but you can consume them past the date for up to four more years."
b.Hard Cheeses (parmesan) may be eaten a month past their expiration date.
c.Cereal may be eaten up to six months past the expiration.
d.Eggs: put it in a bowl of water. If it sinks, its good. If it floats, throw it in the compost!
e.Frozen food: In general, freezing foods help prevent them from going bad, so anything may be preserved date.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Corporate donors are protected from liability under the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act. Under this Act, as long as the donor has not acted with negligence or intentional misconduct, the company is not liable for damage incurred as the result of illness. Therefore, as long as the restaurants, grocery stores, etc. are donating with proper conduct, there is no liability to donate uneaten and/or potentially spoiled food.

In addition, entrepreneurs have been busy trying to cook up startup businesses that make use of food waste not only because it"s a way to help the environment and the hungry poor, but because considering how much food (and money) is wasted regularly, there"s potential for big profits. Many startups focus on repurposing food that"s already been cooked or has been sitting in stores unsold. Others put the emphasis on "ugly" fruits and vegetables that normally never see the inside of a restaurant kitchen or grocery store because they"re too small or not the most appealing color (Money). With this, we can see that the process of donating our food will not only benefit the environment and the hungry, it will also bring in revenues that would have otherwise been wasted.


1. "Reduce Wasted Food By Feeding Hungry People." EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 16 Apr. 2018,

2. "10 Foods You Can Still Eat After the Expiry Date | Food Network Canada.",

3. Tuttle, Brad. "Food Waste: Recycling Food from Supermarkets, Colleges, Farms for the Poor | Money." Time, Time, 12 June 2015,


While donating food might seem like a great idea Giving the needy money is more beneficial. In an article in the National Post published in November of 2017 We learn that canned foods are actually really hard to deal with "Canned goods have a particularly low rate of charitable return. They"re heavy, they"re awkward and they can be extremely difficult to fit into a family"s meal plan. Worst of all, the average consumer is buying their canned goods at four to five times the rock-bottom bulk price that can be obtained by the food bank itself." Donating food to food banks whom are already overwhelmed is counter productive. All those food items need to be sorted, stored, inventoried and then shoehorned into the food bank"s distribution schedule.

By giving out donations and left over food we are ignoring the larger problem that is poverty. On June 31 of 2017 the wrote an article that stated "A key danger of charity food aid is the de-politicisation of hunger. As the charity sector mobilises to meet this need, there is less pressure on the government to address the root causes of food poverty, which are essentially income related." This backs up my point that when we spend time feeding the needy we then are enabling a system within our society that allows certain people to be so poor they have to resort to eating expired food.

Debate Round No. 2


Food that has not even reached its expiration is being thrown away by supermarkets in order to dodge customer complaint.
Marketplace"staff looked for food waste at all the major retailers, including Costco and Walmart. While staffers found bins full of food at some Walmart locations, other chains had compactors making it impossible to see what they throw out. (CBC News
Marketplace"found cartons of milk days ahead of their best-before date, and Parmesan cheese with months left before it needed to be thrown away (CBC News). On one trip,"Marketplace"staff found 12 waist-high bins full of food. After Walmart was contacted, it locked up the bins behind the stores where the food was found (CBC News).
As one could see, these items are being thrown away without even being expired, and may I reiterate, there are several foods that may be eaten far past its expiration date as mentioned by Food Network. Supermarkets are throwing these items away to avoid complaint that they do not "look" as fresh or are too close to their expiration date to make the price worthwhile, not that the foods are actually dangerous to consume.

In addition, donating food is not covering up the larger problem which is poverty.
Here is how food banks work according to Feeding America:
Food banks act as food storage and distribution depots for smaller front line agencies; and usually do not themselves give out food directly to people struggling with hunger. The food banks distribute food and grocery items through food pantries and meal programs that serve families, children, seniors and individuals at risk of hunger. Therefore, it is under the discretion of those agencies to decide whether or not the consumer is in need of the donated food. There are no hand-outs.

Lastly, according to The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),"produced but uneaten food vainly occupies almost 1.4 billion hectares of land; this represents close to 30 percent of the world"s agricultural land area. Not to mention, in a"2011 report, the United Nations" Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated that, in 2007, about 1.6 billion tons of food were wasted. For comparison, about 6 billion tons of food were produced globally that year."In addition, the FAO estimated that in 2007, the global carbon footprint of all the wasted food was about 3.3 billion tons of carbon-dioxide equivalents ""that"s 7 percent of all global emissions and the numbers have only risen since then (Washington Post). Imagine the impact we could make if that food was actually consumed. Less land would be wasted and our global carbon footprint (which occupies 1/3rd of all global emissions), could be reduced.

In conclusion, we must work harder to make sure that the food we produce ends up on the table, but not handed under it. We must support the FAO"s drive to better resource allocation and fight to pass news laws that ban supermarkets from throwing away unused food. In France, for instance, a"new law"bans supermarkets from throwing out unsold food, requiring them to donate it instead (according to The Washington Post). We must also strive to pass such laws to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and support the well-being of our citizens. If we do not act now, we will only contribute more to wasteful landfills, greenhouse emissions, and implications with food security. May we honor the 5 second rule and donate our unused goods for a happier, healthier population and planet.


1. Mancini, Melissa. "Here's How Much Food Walmart Throws Away over 12 Days | CBC News." CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 25 Oct. 2016,

2. "Our Network." Feeding America,

3. "Food Waste Worsens Greenhouse Gas Emissions: FAO." Climate Central, 22 Sept. 2013,


There"s a reason companies put expiration dates on food. Love strong. Org stated " common signs include cramping in the stomach area, frequent vomiting, fever, dizziness, dehydration and persistent diarrhea. The symptoms may last a few hours, days or weeks depending on the severity of the condition. Some food stored past its use-by date in poor conditions can even become contaminated with the serious bacterial infections salmonella or listeria." When talking about the side effects that eating food past the expiration date.

Another thing to consider is that the foods that last for years and can be consumed after the expiration date are loaded and packed with preservatives. Perservatives keep food fresh for longer by filling them with chemicals. The Huffington Post states that "There are three varieties of preservatives: antimicrobials, which stop bacteria, yeasts, and molds from growing; antioxidants, which slow the oxidation of fats, which can turn food rancid; and compounds that inhibit rot in produce." things like cereal which is one of the foods that can be donated as well as many fresh foods are loaded with them.

In a perfect world there wouldn"t be any hunger. Unfortunately there is. When grocery story"s give away food to food banks it takes the pressure of the government to make a change, not to mention that food care even when donating requires a lot of time and resources to be successful, and those whom are needy should be given food that"s good for them not food that is expired or packed with preservatives.
Debate Round No. 3
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