As Watson

Supermarket says no

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 July, 2012, 12:00am


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A newly-established green group has condemned a supermarket giant for refusing to donate unsold, but edible food to the needy.

Friends of the Earth (HK) and 11 non-governmental organisations have formed the Food Donation Alliance to promote food recycling.

The environmental group revealed in May that four supermarket chains - ParknShop, Wellcome, CR Vanguard and Jusco - disposed of about 29 tonnes of food before its expiry date.

The edible food found in rubbish bins included fruit, vegetables and bread. It was enough to feed 48,000 three-person families, one food bank manager said. A ParknShop spokeswoman said the supermarket did not intend to donate unsafe food to the non-profit food banks, which serve about 550,000 people every year.

She said food safety was one of the company's primary concerns and the supermarket disposed only of expired, damaged or bad food, since dumping edible products was not cost-effective.

In newspaper advertisements, ParknShop said it would be better to reduce waste at source, such as by returning surplus stock to suppliers and cutting prices of food nearing its expiry date.

The green alliance urged the supermarket giant to learn from restaurants and hotels, which have adopted feasible and safe methods to handle food waste.

It also suggested the chain should compost expired food and turn it into fertiliser or fish feed.