“Who owns discarded food?” – Ham&High

food-waste-Iceland-Three

“A supermarket in Kentish Town has found itself at the centre of a raging debate over food waste and food poverty after three men were ordered to appear in court for taking unwanted food out of a bin.

Paul May, 35, William James, 23, and Jason Chan, 31, were arrested in October last year after scaling a wall and taking £33 worth of tomatoes, cheese, mushrooms and Mr Kipling cakes from a dustbin outside Iceland in Kentish Town Road.

Last week the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) revealed the men, who currently live in a north London squat, would appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court charged not with theft but with “being on enclosed premises for an unlawful purpose” –an obscure offence under the 1824 Vagrancy Act.

But a public outcry over the case of the “Iceland Three” – including condemnation from founder and owner of Iceland, Malcolm Walker – led the CPS to reverse its decision and drop all charges.

Despite almost appearing in court, Mr James said he would do it again.

He told the BBC: “I don’t think [the food] belongs to anybody, it is in a bin and no-one wants it.

“I couldn’t afford to feed everyone I live with and I don’t want to eat on my own.”

The affair has since led to much soul-searching about the amount our supermarkets waste and a rise of 12.6 per cent above inflation in food prices over the past six years. Almost 350,000 people in the UK rely on food banks to get their next meal.

According to the government’s own waste advisory body, Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the UK throws away 15million tonnes of food every year.

Tesco generated almost 30,000 tonnes of food waste across its stores in the first six months of last year alone.”

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(via hamhigh.co.uk)