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Shoppers anger at Whitechapel supermarket chucking away in-date food

PUBLISHED: 17:28 18 March 2011

Food being chucked out in the supermarket

Food being chucked out in the supermarket

Archant

Shoppers in Whitechapel were shocked to see staff at a supermarket throwing away food still within its sell-by date.

A group of shoppers confronted workers at Sainsbury’s in Cambridge Heath Road, Whitechapel when they saw six large bin bags of bread and cakes being were being thrown away.

One woman shopper said she took out a loaf that was in date and bought it at full price.

She said: “There was plenty of time for the supermarket to have found a charity or good cause who would have welcomed some free food.”

Renato Gutrai, 33, sells the Big Issue outside the supermarket and is currently without a permanent home.

He earns about £15 by selling the magazine for six hours a day and often struggles to have money for food.

With environmental issues high on the public agenda and more people finding themselves struggling during the recession, the pressure for food stores and supermarkets to put in-date food to good use is mounting.

Sandwich chain Pret A Manger sends vans to homeless charities and shelters across London after closing time with its unsold lunches.

It delivers 12,000 fresh meals to shelters in the city each week.

Sainsbury’s said it also encourages its stores to donate leftover food within its use-by date to charity.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson added: “We recognise that safe and nutritious food can help to improve the quality of life of many of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

“We’ve been donating food to local charities across the UK since 1998 and our aim is to get every store and distribution centre to be involved wherever possible.”

The Whitechapel store is in discussions with shelters in the area to start up a food donation scheme very soon, the supermarket giant said.

Preventing food wastage has been taken to the extreme by one group.

“Freegans” rummage in supermarket bins and forage for other leftover food in a bid to minimise their consumption.

They argue a large majority of produce in the UK is brought here at the expense of communities and environments in the developing world and have set up their own unique strategies for living.

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