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A British Supermarket Is Selling Expired Products to Combat Waste

A British Supermarket Is Selling Expired Products to Combat Waste


A pantry, dark and dusty, can so often be a place where canned goods, bought with good intent and possibility, are forgotten. Abandoned in a cobwebbed corner until the fateful day when you decide to “organize.” You reach to the back; perhaps recoil as your hand touches the abandoned can of whatever-it-is and pull it closer for further inspection and read… the expiration date. Before long the rubbish is piled high with recently expired goods — canned soup, potato chips, vanilla extract, rigatoni — all of it deemed unsuitable, all of it wasted. But it need not be.

In an effort to combat food waste, major British retailer East of England Co-op has recently begun to sell canned and dried goods for the impossibly low price of 10 pence (about 14 cents) once they reach their best-before date. They explain the policy on their website: “The food we will be selling is still edible and enjoyable past its Best Before date, but it needs to be eaten as soon as possible after purchase. It is mainly tinned and dried goods where eating past the Best Before date is still perfectly safe.”

Roger Grosvenor, joint chief executive at the East of England Co-op, heads up the company’s retail division and has spearheaded the initiative. He commented: “We are committed to reducing waste in our business and The Co-op Guide to Dating is one of many initiatives we have instigated to make the East of England Co-op as efficient as possible, reducing our impact on the environment.”

“During our trial we found our 10 pence items went within hours of being reduced, sometimes quicker,” said Roger. “The vast majority of our customers understand they are fine to eat and appreciate the opportunity to make a significant saving on some of their favorite products.”

Best- before dates appear on a wide range of frozen, dried, and canned foods and are indicators of quality, not safety. This means that though the product might begin to lose flavor or texture once past the best-before date, it is not harmful to consume. The best-before date is not to be confused with the use-by date, which is used to label products with a shorter shelf life (including meat, dairy, and fresh produce), which may be harmful if eaten after the given date. These items are not included in the Co-op’s latest endeavor.

“This is not a money-making exercise,” Grosvenor went on to explain, “but a sensible move to reduce food waste and keep edible food in the food chain. By selling perfectly edible food we can save 50,000 items every year which would otherwise have gone to waste.”

Food waste is just as big a problem on this side of the Atlantic, if not bigger — millions of tons of produce end up in U.S. landfills each year. That’s only one of several mind blowing facts about food waste in America.

Watch this video of celebrity chef and restaurateur Mario Batali discussing the pressure he feels to tackle the issue of food waste.


Food waste charity may be prosecuted over out-of-date produce

A charity that campaigns against food waste may face prosecution after a trading standards inspection found produce that was past its use-by date at one of its warehouses.

The Real Junk Food Project, which has 127 affiliated cafes worldwide, aims to combat food waste by collecting produce that would otherwise be thrown away and preparing it for the general public.

Adam Smith, a co-founder of the charity, has been summoned to a formal hearing by West Yorkshire Trading Standards Services (WYTSS) after an inspection at a premises in Leeds.

Inspectors said they had found 444 items that were a total of 6,345 days past their use-by date, the date after which a product cannot be sold.

Smith faces potential prosecution under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, as well as Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2013. He said all food served was safe and that the project had not received complaints from the public.

The Real Junk Food Project has three “share houses” in Sheffield, Birmingham and Leeds, which receive unwanted food from supermarkets, food banks, wholesalers and farms. The produce that is deemed fit for human consumption is then sent to affiliated schools, cafes and event caterers, on a pay-what-you-want basis.

“We’ve been doing this for three and a half years and we’ve fed just over a million people worldwide,” said Smith. “They could have stopped us a long time ago and they didn’t. If they thought it was dangerous they wouldn’t have allowed us to continue trading.”

Smith has been told he could face two months in prison and a £5,000 fine if he is found guilty. Among the items found by trading standards were more than 100 sachets of French dressing, made from oil and vinegar, which were past their use-by date.

Smith said that just because an item was found in one of the warehouses did not mean the charity intended to distribute it for consumption by the public. But he admitted that it sometimes distributed goods that were past their use-by date, as the label is often used incorrectly.

He said last week the charity received lemons and bananas from a supermarket that were fine to eat but had use-by dates that had expired. “That means we could have been prosecuted for giving somebody one of those bananas,” he said.

The trained chef said his charity was “challenging the grey area in the legislation around the safety of food” and that the public was confused about the difference between the various labels given to products, such as “sell by”, “eat before” and “best before”.

“Our instincts provide us with enough to be able to tell if food is off or not,” said Smith. “We want to show that with our skills and knowledge – as chefs and people who have worked in the food industry for a long time – that we can provide this food to anybody and make it safe for consumption.”

A peaceful protest, involving a picnic of waste food, is planned for the day of Smith’s hearing, though a date has not yet been set. The charity has received messages of support from across the food industry, including the TGI Fridays restaurant chain. “They hope we win the case because it will save the industry millions of pounds because we’re throwing so much food away,” he said.

WY TSS said it could not comment on the detail of an ongoing investigation, adding: “The proprietor of RJF Project will be able to put forward information as part of that investigation process. That will help inform the decision on what, if any, action will be taken.

“In relation to the relevant legal provisions, I can confirm the supply of food marked with a ‘use-by’ date after the date marked on the pack is an offence. It is however not an offence to supply foods marked with a best before date beyond the date marked on pack.”


Food waste charity may be prosecuted over out-of-date produce

A charity that campaigns against food waste may face prosecution after a trading standards inspection found produce that was past its use-by date at one of its warehouses.

The Real Junk Food Project, which has 127 affiliated cafes worldwide, aims to combat food waste by collecting produce that would otherwise be thrown away and preparing it for the general public.

Adam Smith, a co-founder of the charity, has been summoned to a formal hearing by West Yorkshire Trading Standards Services (WYTSS) after an inspection at a premises in Leeds.

Inspectors said they had found 444 items that were a total of 6,345 days past their use-by date, the date after which a product cannot be sold.

Smith faces potential prosecution under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, as well as Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2013. He said all food served was safe and that the project had not received complaints from the public.

The Real Junk Food Project has three “share houses” in Sheffield, Birmingham and Leeds, which receive unwanted food from supermarkets, food banks, wholesalers and farms. The produce that is deemed fit for human consumption is then sent to affiliated schools, cafes and event caterers, on a pay-what-you-want basis.

“We’ve been doing this for three and a half years and we’ve fed just over a million people worldwide,” said Smith. “They could have stopped us a long time ago and they didn’t. If they thought it was dangerous they wouldn’t have allowed us to continue trading.”

Smith has been told he could face two months in prison and a £5,000 fine if he is found guilty. Among the items found by trading standards were more than 100 sachets of French dressing, made from oil and vinegar, which were past their use-by date.

Smith said that just because an item was found in one of the warehouses did not mean the charity intended to distribute it for consumption by the public. But he admitted that it sometimes distributed goods that were past their use-by date, as the label is often used incorrectly.

He said last week the charity received lemons and bananas from a supermarket that were fine to eat but had use-by dates that had expired. “That means we could have been prosecuted for giving somebody one of those bananas,” he said.

The trained chef said his charity was “challenging the grey area in the legislation around the safety of food” and that the public was confused about the difference between the various labels given to products, such as “sell by”, “eat before” and “best before”.

“Our instincts provide us with enough to be able to tell if food is off or not,” said Smith. “We want to show that with our skills and knowledge – as chefs and people who have worked in the food industry for a long time – that we can provide this food to anybody and make it safe for consumption.”

A peaceful protest, involving a picnic of waste food, is planned for the day of Smith’s hearing, though a date has not yet been set. The charity has received messages of support from across the food industry, including the TGI Fridays restaurant chain. “They hope we win the case because it will save the industry millions of pounds because we’re throwing so much food away,” he said.

WY TSS said it could not comment on the detail of an ongoing investigation, adding: “The proprietor of RJF Project will be able to put forward information as part of that investigation process. That will help inform the decision on what, if any, action will be taken.

“In relation to the relevant legal provisions, I can confirm the supply of food marked with a ‘use-by’ date after the date marked on the pack is an offence. It is however not an offence to supply foods marked with a best before date beyond the date marked on pack.”


Food waste charity may be prosecuted over out-of-date produce

A charity that campaigns against food waste may face prosecution after a trading standards inspection found produce that was past its use-by date at one of its warehouses.

The Real Junk Food Project, which has 127 affiliated cafes worldwide, aims to combat food waste by collecting produce that would otherwise be thrown away and preparing it for the general public.

Adam Smith, a co-founder of the charity, has been summoned to a formal hearing by West Yorkshire Trading Standards Services (WYTSS) after an inspection at a premises in Leeds.

Inspectors said they had found 444 items that were a total of 6,345 days past their use-by date, the date after which a product cannot be sold.

Smith faces potential prosecution under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, as well as Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2013. He said all food served was safe and that the project had not received complaints from the public.

The Real Junk Food Project has three “share houses” in Sheffield, Birmingham and Leeds, which receive unwanted food from supermarkets, food banks, wholesalers and farms. The produce that is deemed fit for human consumption is then sent to affiliated schools, cafes and event caterers, on a pay-what-you-want basis.

“We’ve been doing this for three and a half years and we’ve fed just over a million people worldwide,” said Smith. “They could have stopped us a long time ago and they didn’t. If they thought it was dangerous they wouldn’t have allowed us to continue trading.”

Smith has been told he could face two months in prison and a £5,000 fine if he is found guilty. Among the items found by trading standards were more than 100 sachets of French dressing, made from oil and vinegar, which were past their use-by date.

Smith said that just because an item was found in one of the warehouses did not mean the charity intended to distribute it for consumption by the public. But he admitted that it sometimes distributed goods that were past their use-by date, as the label is often used incorrectly.

He said last week the charity received lemons and bananas from a supermarket that were fine to eat but had use-by dates that had expired. “That means we could have been prosecuted for giving somebody one of those bananas,” he said.

The trained chef said his charity was “challenging the grey area in the legislation around the safety of food” and that the public was confused about the difference between the various labels given to products, such as “sell by”, “eat before” and “best before”.

“Our instincts provide us with enough to be able to tell if food is off or not,” said Smith. “We want to show that with our skills and knowledge – as chefs and people who have worked in the food industry for a long time – that we can provide this food to anybody and make it safe for consumption.”

A peaceful protest, involving a picnic of waste food, is planned for the day of Smith’s hearing, though a date has not yet been set. The charity has received messages of support from across the food industry, including the TGI Fridays restaurant chain. “They hope we win the case because it will save the industry millions of pounds because we’re throwing so much food away,” he said.

WY TSS said it could not comment on the detail of an ongoing investigation, adding: “The proprietor of RJF Project will be able to put forward information as part of that investigation process. That will help inform the decision on what, if any, action will be taken.

“In relation to the relevant legal provisions, I can confirm the supply of food marked with a ‘use-by’ date after the date marked on the pack is an offence. It is however not an offence to supply foods marked with a best before date beyond the date marked on pack.”


Food waste charity may be prosecuted over out-of-date produce

A charity that campaigns against food waste may face prosecution after a trading standards inspection found produce that was past its use-by date at one of its warehouses.

The Real Junk Food Project, which has 127 affiliated cafes worldwide, aims to combat food waste by collecting produce that would otherwise be thrown away and preparing it for the general public.

Adam Smith, a co-founder of the charity, has been summoned to a formal hearing by West Yorkshire Trading Standards Services (WYTSS) after an inspection at a premises in Leeds.

Inspectors said they had found 444 items that were a total of 6,345 days past their use-by date, the date after which a product cannot be sold.

Smith faces potential prosecution under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, as well as Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2013. He said all food served was safe and that the project had not received complaints from the public.

The Real Junk Food Project has three “share houses” in Sheffield, Birmingham and Leeds, which receive unwanted food from supermarkets, food banks, wholesalers and farms. The produce that is deemed fit for human consumption is then sent to affiliated schools, cafes and event caterers, on a pay-what-you-want basis.

“We’ve been doing this for three and a half years and we’ve fed just over a million people worldwide,” said Smith. “They could have stopped us a long time ago and they didn’t. If they thought it was dangerous they wouldn’t have allowed us to continue trading.”

Smith has been told he could face two months in prison and a £5,000 fine if he is found guilty. Among the items found by trading standards were more than 100 sachets of French dressing, made from oil and vinegar, which were past their use-by date.

Smith said that just because an item was found in one of the warehouses did not mean the charity intended to distribute it for consumption by the public. But he admitted that it sometimes distributed goods that were past their use-by date, as the label is often used incorrectly.

He said last week the charity received lemons and bananas from a supermarket that were fine to eat but had use-by dates that had expired. “That means we could have been prosecuted for giving somebody one of those bananas,” he said.

The trained chef said his charity was “challenging the grey area in the legislation around the safety of food” and that the public was confused about the difference between the various labels given to products, such as “sell by”, “eat before” and “best before”.

“Our instincts provide us with enough to be able to tell if food is off or not,” said Smith. “We want to show that with our skills and knowledge – as chefs and people who have worked in the food industry for a long time – that we can provide this food to anybody and make it safe for consumption.”

A peaceful protest, involving a picnic of waste food, is planned for the day of Smith’s hearing, though a date has not yet been set. The charity has received messages of support from across the food industry, including the TGI Fridays restaurant chain. “They hope we win the case because it will save the industry millions of pounds because we’re throwing so much food away,” he said.

WY TSS said it could not comment on the detail of an ongoing investigation, adding: “The proprietor of RJF Project will be able to put forward information as part of that investigation process. That will help inform the decision on what, if any, action will be taken.

“In relation to the relevant legal provisions, I can confirm the supply of food marked with a ‘use-by’ date after the date marked on the pack is an offence. It is however not an offence to supply foods marked with a best before date beyond the date marked on pack.”


Food waste charity may be prosecuted over out-of-date produce

A charity that campaigns against food waste may face prosecution after a trading standards inspection found produce that was past its use-by date at one of its warehouses.

The Real Junk Food Project, which has 127 affiliated cafes worldwide, aims to combat food waste by collecting produce that would otherwise be thrown away and preparing it for the general public.

Adam Smith, a co-founder of the charity, has been summoned to a formal hearing by West Yorkshire Trading Standards Services (WYTSS) after an inspection at a premises in Leeds.

Inspectors said they had found 444 items that were a total of 6,345 days past their use-by date, the date after which a product cannot be sold.

Smith faces potential prosecution under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, as well as Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2013. He said all food served was safe and that the project had not received complaints from the public.

The Real Junk Food Project has three “share houses” in Sheffield, Birmingham and Leeds, which receive unwanted food from supermarkets, food banks, wholesalers and farms. The produce that is deemed fit for human consumption is then sent to affiliated schools, cafes and event caterers, on a pay-what-you-want basis.

“We’ve been doing this for three and a half years and we’ve fed just over a million people worldwide,” said Smith. “They could have stopped us a long time ago and they didn’t. If they thought it was dangerous they wouldn’t have allowed us to continue trading.”

Smith has been told he could face two months in prison and a £5,000 fine if he is found guilty. Among the items found by trading standards were more than 100 sachets of French dressing, made from oil and vinegar, which were past their use-by date.

Smith said that just because an item was found in one of the warehouses did not mean the charity intended to distribute it for consumption by the public. But he admitted that it sometimes distributed goods that were past their use-by date, as the label is often used incorrectly.

He said last week the charity received lemons and bananas from a supermarket that were fine to eat but had use-by dates that had expired. “That means we could have been prosecuted for giving somebody one of those bananas,” he said.

The trained chef said his charity was “challenging the grey area in the legislation around the safety of food” and that the public was confused about the difference between the various labels given to products, such as “sell by”, “eat before” and “best before”.

“Our instincts provide us with enough to be able to tell if food is off or not,” said Smith. “We want to show that with our skills and knowledge – as chefs and people who have worked in the food industry for a long time – that we can provide this food to anybody and make it safe for consumption.”

A peaceful protest, involving a picnic of waste food, is planned for the day of Smith’s hearing, though a date has not yet been set. The charity has received messages of support from across the food industry, including the TGI Fridays restaurant chain. “They hope we win the case because it will save the industry millions of pounds because we’re throwing so much food away,” he said.

WY TSS said it could not comment on the detail of an ongoing investigation, adding: “The proprietor of RJF Project will be able to put forward information as part of that investigation process. That will help inform the decision on what, if any, action will be taken.

“In relation to the relevant legal provisions, I can confirm the supply of food marked with a ‘use-by’ date after the date marked on the pack is an offence. It is however not an offence to supply foods marked with a best before date beyond the date marked on pack.”


Food waste charity may be prosecuted over out-of-date produce

A charity that campaigns against food waste may face prosecution after a trading standards inspection found produce that was past its use-by date at one of its warehouses.

The Real Junk Food Project, which has 127 affiliated cafes worldwide, aims to combat food waste by collecting produce that would otherwise be thrown away and preparing it for the general public.

Adam Smith, a co-founder of the charity, has been summoned to a formal hearing by West Yorkshire Trading Standards Services (WYTSS) after an inspection at a premises in Leeds.

Inspectors said they had found 444 items that were a total of 6,345 days past their use-by date, the date after which a product cannot be sold.

Smith faces potential prosecution under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, as well as Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2013. He said all food served was safe and that the project had not received complaints from the public.

The Real Junk Food Project has three “share houses” in Sheffield, Birmingham and Leeds, which receive unwanted food from supermarkets, food banks, wholesalers and farms. The produce that is deemed fit for human consumption is then sent to affiliated schools, cafes and event caterers, on a pay-what-you-want basis.

“We’ve been doing this for three and a half years and we’ve fed just over a million people worldwide,” said Smith. “They could have stopped us a long time ago and they didn’t. If they thought it was dangerous they wouldn’t have allowed us to continue trading.”

Smith has been told he could face two months in prison and a £5,000 fine if he is found guilty. Among the items found by trading standards were more than 100 sachets of French dressing, made from oil and vinegar, which were past their use-by date.

Smith said that just because an item was found in one of the warehouses did not mean the charity intended to distribute it for consumption by the public. But he admitted that it sometimes distributed goods that were past their use-by date, as the label is often used incorrectly.

He said last week the charity received lemons and bananas from a supermarket that were fine to eat but had use-by dates that had expired. “That means we could have been prosecuted for giving somebody one of those bananas,” he said.

The trained chef said his charity was “challenging the grey area in the legislation around the safety of food” and that the public was confused about the difference between the various labels given to products, such as “sell by”, “eat before” and “best before”.

“Our instincts provide us with enough to be able to tell if food is off or not,” said Smith. “We want to show that with our skills and knowledge – as chefs and people who have worked in the food industry for a long time – that we can provide this food to anybody and make it safe for consumption.”

A peaceful protest, involving a picnic of waste food, is planned for the day of Smith’s hearing, though a date has not yet been set. The charity has received messages of support from across the food industry, including the TGI Fridays restaurant chain. “They hope we win the case because it will save the industry millions of pounds because we’re throwing so much food away,” he said.

WY TSS said it could not comment on the detail of an ongoing investigation, adding: “The proprietor of RJF Project will be able to put forward information as part of that investigation process. That will help inform the decision on what, if any, action will be taken.

“In relation to the relevant legal provisions, I can confirm the supply of food marked with a ‘use-by’ date after the date marked on the pack is an offence. It is however not an offence to supply foods marked with a best before date beyond the date marked on pack.”


Food waste charity may be prosecuted over out-of-date produce

A charity that campaigns against food waste may face prosecution after a trading standards inspection found produce that was past its use-by date at one of its warehouses.

The Real Junk Food Project, which has 127 affiliated cafes worldwide, aims to combat food waste by collecting produce that would otherwise be thrown away and preparing it for the general public.

Adam Smith, a co-founder of the charity, has been summoned to a formal hearing by West Yorkshire Trading Standards Services (WYTSS) after an inspection at a premises in Leeds.

Inspectors said they had found 444 items that were a total of 6,345 days past their use-by date, the date after which a product cannot be sold.

Smith faces potential prosecution under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, as well as Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2013. He said all food served was safe and that the project had not received complaints from the public.

The Real Junk Food Project has three “share houses” in Sheffield, Birmingham and Leeds, which receive unwanted food from supermarkets, food banks, wholesalers and farms. The produce that is deemed fit for human consumption is then sent to affiliated schools, cafes and event caterers, on a pay-what-you-want basis.

“We’ve been doing this for three and a half years and we’ve fed just over a million people worldwide,” said Smith. “They could have stopped us a long time ago and they didn’t. If they thought it was dangerous they wouldn’t have allowed us to continue trading.”

Smith has been told he could face two months in prison and a £5,000 fine if he is found guilty. Among the items found by trading standards were more than 100 sachets of French dressing, made from oil and vinegar, which were past their use-by date.

Smith said that just because an item was found in one of the warehouses did not mean the charity intended to distribute it for consumption by the public. But he admitted that it sometimes distributed goods that were past their use-by date, as the label is often used incorrectly.

He said last week the charity received lemons and bananas from a supermarket that were fine to eat but had use-by dates that had expired. “That means we could have been prosecuted for giving somebody one of those bananas,” he said.

The trained chef said his charity was “challenging the grey area in the legislation around the safety of food” and that the public was confused about the difference between the various labels given to products, such as “sell by”, “eat before” and “best before”.

“Our instincts provide us with enough to be able to tell if food is off or not,” said Smith. “We want to show that with our skills and knowledge – as chefs and people who have worked in the food industry for a long time – that we can provide this food to anybody and make it safe for consumption.”

A peaceful protest, involving a picnic of waste food, is planned for the day of Smith’s hearing, though a date has not yet been set. The charity has received messages of support from across the food industry, including the TGI Fridays restaurant chain. “They hope we win the case because it will save the industry millions of pounds because we’re throwing so much food away,” he said.

WY TSS said it could not comment on the detail of an ongoing investigation, adding: “The proprietor of RJF Project will be able to put forward information as part of that investigation process. That will help inform the decision on what, if any, action will be taken.

“In relation to the relevant legal provisions, I can confirm the supply of food marked with a ‘use-by’ date after the date marked on the pack is an offence. It is however not an offence to supply foods marked with a best before date beyond the date marked on pack.”


Food waste charity may be prosecuted over out-of-date produce

A charity that campaigns against food waste may face prosecution after a trading standards inspection found produce that was past its use-by date at one of its warehouses.

The Real Junk Food Project, which has 127 affiliated cafes worldwide, aims to combat food waste by collecting produce that would otherwise be thrown away and preparing it for the general public.

Adam Smith, a co-founder of the charity, has been summoned to a formal hearing by West Yorkshire Trading Standards Services (WYTSS) after an inspection at a premises in Leeds.

Inspectors said they had found 444 items that were a total of 6,345 days past their use-by date, the date after which a product cannot be sold.

Smith faces potential prosecution under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, as well as Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2013. He said all food served was safe and that the project had not received complaints from the public.

The Real Junk Food Project has three “share houses” in Sheffield, Birmingham and Leeds, which receive unwanted food from supermarkets, food banks, wholesalers and farms. The produce that is deemed fit for human consumption is then sent to affiliated schools, cafes and event caterers, on a pay-what-you-want basis.

“We’ve been doing this for three and a half years and we’ve fed just over a million people worldwide,” said Smith. “They could have stopped us a long time ago and they didn’t. If they thought it was dangerous they wouldn’t have allowed us to continue trading.”

Smith has been told he could face two months in prison and a £5,000 fine if he is found guilty. Among the items found by trading standards were more than 100 sachets of French dressing, made from oil and vinegar, which were past their use-by date.

Smith said that just because an item was found in one of the warehouses did not mean the charity intended to distribute it for consumption by the public. But he admitted that it sometimes distributed goods that were past their use-by date, as the label is often used incorrectly.

He said last week the charity received lemons and bananas from a supermarket that were fine to eat but had use-by dates that had expired. “That means we could have been prosecuted for giving somebody one of those bananas,” he said.

The trained chef said his charity was “challenging the grey area in the legislation around the safety of food” and that the public was confused about the difference between the various labels given to products, such as “sell by”, “eat before” and “best before”.

“Our instincts provide us with enough to be able to tell if food is off or not,” said Smith. “We want to show that with our skills and knowledge – as chefs and people who have worked in the food industry for a long time – that we can provide this food to anybody and make it safe for consumption.”

A peaceful protest, involving a picnic of waste food, is planned for the day of Smith’s hearing, though a date has not yet been set. The charity has received messages of support from across the food industry, including the TGI Fridays restaurant chain. “They hope we win the case because it will save the industry millions of pounds because we’re throwing so much food away,” he said.

WY TSS said it could not comment on the detail of an ongoing investigation, adding: “The proprietor of RJF Project will be able to put forward information as part of that investigation process. That will help inform the decision on what, if any, action will be taken.

“In relation to the relevant legal provisions, I can confirm the supply of food marked with a ‘use-by’ date after the date marked on the pack is an offence. It is however not an offence to supply foods marked with a best before date beyond the date marked on pack.”


Food waste charity may be prosecuted over out-of-date produce

A charity that campaigns against food waste may face prosecution after a trading standards inspection found produce that was past its use-by date at one of its warehouses.

The Real Junk Food Project, which has 127 affiliated cafes worldwide, aims to combat food waste by collecting produce that would otherwise be thrown away and preparing it for the general public.

Adam Smith, a co-founder of the charity, has been summoned to a formal hearing by West Yorkshire Trading Standards Services (WYTSS) after an inspection at a premises in Leeds.

Inspectors said they had found 444 items that were a total of 6,345 days past their use-by date, the date after which a product cannot be sold.

Smith faces potential prosecution under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, as well as Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2013. He said all food served was safe and that the project had not received complaints from the public.

The Real Junk Food Project has three “share houses” in Sheffield, Birmingham and Leeds, which receive unwanted food from supermarkets, food banks, wholesalers and farms. The produce that is deemed fit for human consumption is then sent to affiliated schools, cafes and event caterers, on a pay-what-you-want basis.

“We’ve been doing this for three and a half years and we’ve fed just over a million people worldwide,” said Smith. “They could have stopped us a long time ago and they didn’t. If they thought it was dangerous they wouldn’t have allowed us to continue trading.”

Smith has been told he could face two months in prison and a £5,000 fine if he is found guilty. Among the items found by trading standards were more than 100 sachets of French dressing, made from oil and vinegar, which were past their use-by date.

Smith said that just because an item was found in one of the warehouses did not mean the charity intended to distribute it for consumption by the public. But he admitted that it sometimes distributed goods that were past their use-by date, as the label is often used incorrectly.

He said last week the charity received lemons and bananas from a supermarket that were fine to eat but had use-by dates that had expired. “That means we could have been prosecuted for giving somebody one of those bananas,” he said.

The trained chef said his charity was “challenging the grey area in the legislation around the safety of food” and that the public was confused about the difference between the various labels given to products, such as “sell by”, “eat before” and “best before”.

“Our instincts provide us with enough to be able to tell if food is off or not,” said Smith. “We want to show that with our skills and knowledge – as chefs and people who have worked in the food industry for a long time – that we can provide this food to anybody and make it safe for consumption.”

A peaceful protest, involving a picnic of waste food, is planned for the day of Smith’s hearing, though a date has not yet been set. The charity has received messages of support from across the food industry, including the TGI Fridays restaurant chain. “They hope we win the case because it will save the industry millions of pounds because we’re throwing so much food away,” he said.

WY TSS said it could not comment on the detail of an ongoing investigation, adding: “The proprietor of RJF Project will be able to put forward information as part of that investigation process. That will help inform the decision on what, if any, action will be taken.

“In relation to the relevant legal provisions, I can confirm the supply of food marked with a ‘use-by’ date after the date marked on the pack is an offence. It is however not an offence to supply foods marked with a best before date beyond the date marked on pack.”


Food waste charity may be prosecuted over out-of-date produce

A charity that campaigns against food waste may face prosecution after a trading standards inspection found produce that was past its use-by date at one of its warehouses.

The Real Junk Food Project, which has 127 affiliated cafes worldwide, aims to combat food waste by collecting produce that would otherwise be thrown away and preparing it for the general public.

Adam Smith, a co-founder of the charity, has been summoned to a formal hearing by West Yorkshire Trading Standards Services (WYTSS) after an inspection at a premises in Leeds.

Inspectors said they had found 444 items that were a total of 6,345 days past their use-by date, the date after which a product cannot be sold.

Smith faces potential prosecution under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, as well as Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2013. He said all food served was safe and that the project had not received complaints from the public.

The Real Junk Food Project has three “share houses” in Sheffield, Birmingham and Leeds, which receive unwanted food from supermarkets, food banks, wholesalers and farms. The produce that is deemed fit for human consumption is then sent to affiliated schools, cafes and event caterers, on a pay-what-you-want basis.

“We’ve been doing this for three and a half years and we’ve fed just over a million people worldwide,” said Smith. “They could have stopped us a long time ago and they didn’t. If they thought it was dangerous they wouldn’t have allowed us to continue trading.”

Smith has been told he could face two months in prison and a £5,000 fine if he is found guilty. Among the items found by trading standards were more than 100 sachets of French dressing, made from oil and vinegar, which were past their use-by date.

Smith said that just because an item was found in one of the warehouses did not mean the charity intended to distribute it for consumption by the public. But he admitted that it sometimes distributed goods that were past their use-by date, as the label is often used incorrectly.

He said last week the charity received lemons and bananas from a supermarket that were fine to eat but had use-by dates that had expired. “That means we could have been prosecuted for giving somebody one of those bananas,” he said.

The trained chef said his charity was “challenging the grey area in the legislation around the safety of food” and that the public was confused about the difference between the various labels given to products, such as “sell by”, “eat before” and “best before”.

“Our instincts provide us with enough to be able to tell if food is off or not,” said Smith. “We want to show that with our skills and knowledge – as chefs and people who have worked in the food industry for a long time – that we can provide this food to anybody and make it safe for consumption.”

A peaceful protest, involving a picnic of waste food, is planned for the day of Smith’s hearing, though a date has not yet been set. The charity has received messages of support from across the food industry, including the TGI Fridays restaurant chain. “They hope we win the case because it will save the industry millions of pounds because we’re throwing so much food away,” he said.

WY TSS said it could not comment on the detail of an ongoing investigation, adding: “The proprietor of RJF Project will be able to put forward information as part of that investigation process. That will help inform the decision on what, if any, action will be taken.

“In relation to the relevant legal provisions, I can confirm the supply of food marked with a ‘use-by’ date after the date marked on the pack is an offence. It is however not an offence to supply foods marked with a best before date beyond the date marked on pack.”