When people are eating in restaurants, they often accidentally drop food onto the table.
I think lots of people have the same dilemma I do: eat it or throw it away? It might seem dirty to eat it but it is wasteful to throw it away.
What is the right thing to do?
These are reasonable questions, as we do not know if the table is dirty or clean. If it is dirty, we might get sick. But it is a shame to waste food.
In my opinion, we should throw the food away. With so many different people eating at a table, there's a real risk of getting a stomach bug.
Of course, the best way to solve this problem is to eat carefully, and not let food fall onto the table.
Ma Hoi-tung, Christian Alliance S. C. Chan Memorial College
From the Editor
Thank you for your letter, Hoi-tung. Food waste is a very serious problem in Hong Kong, especially with our love of buffets. It's worrying to think that there are people in our city who don't have enough to eat, when there are so many restaurants and people throwing away so much food.
I think you're right to avoid eating food that has dropped onto the table. Even though the tables are wiped between customers, there's no guarantee that the cloth used by waiters is sterilised, or that they wipe the whole table. There are so many food-related bacteria, such as E coli, which can cause severe stomach problems or worse, so it's not worth the risk.
But it is important to appreciate food, and appreciate how lucky we are to have enough every day. Stop ordering more food than you can eat, be careful not to drop it while you're eating, and learn more about food banks, and how you can support them by eating at outlets that provide them with food.
Karly, deputy editor