For over two years now I've been comitted to an every other week meat pickup that consists of the trashed meat from a major retail chain. This is a twice weekly pickup, of which I only participate in twice a month. The average size of the pickup is in the 1500lb range....every time.
Did you realize that those clean, tidy, non bloody, sterile, styrofoamed bottom plastic wrapped chunks of meat in the grocery store were once a living animal that had to die so you could have the convenience of popping in to your one stop shoping experience so far removed from the place that meat comes from that there are actually people out there that have no idea what meat really is? I wish I was kidding.
We were a society with a farm on every corner, a garden in every back yard, milk delivered fresh from the cow in glass reusealbe bottles , a society that knew the person who raised their food and the location of where it came from. These days if you ask somene where food comes from they are likely to say "the store." When asked where the store gets it from they probably don't even know. If you ask the store where the food on their shelves comes from they are likely to name off one of only a few conglomerate food distribution companies...and have no knowledge of where those companies get that food from.
Every time I turn around these days it seems like there has been another recall on some form of food that has been tainted in some way or another with bacteria of one sort or another. Back when I started to keep track of all of this, back when I went vegetarian, it was only meat of one kind or another that was involved in these recalls. These days it seems to be a little of everything. Within the last couple of weeks a local man died from tainted cantelope. Tainted cantelope. Tainted....cantelope? This just blows my mind.
I've seen first hand in the last 2+ years how much food gets thrown away by just one major retail store here in the metro area. This is just meat and processed meat products. From there I can extrapolate easily the amount of fresh produce, bread, dairy and so called shelf stable foods get trashed as well. Let me tell you that the shear amount of waste that goes on from each and every retail store around the states will absolutely blow your mind. You truly have to see it to even imagine the scope of it. This was, before it passed its "use by" date, perfectly edible food for human consumption. I'm not even talking about the millions of pounds of food included in the recalls for one reason or another that is destroyed. I'm just talking about the food that was shipped in from all over the globe so the average consumer could have the convenience of one stop shopping. This is the food that gets too old to be either "pretty" or "safely eaten."
I have little to no sympathy or patience for the talk I hear about people starving either here in the states or around the world. It's not that I'm not a compasionate person, that's not it at all. My heart goes out, it truly does. However let's not fool ourselves into thinking that there isn't enough food in this world to go around. I'm not even including the food each and every one of us lets go bad in our pantry, freezer, or fridge here. I'm sure that adds up as well. I'm simply talking about the food that every day ends up in the landfills feeding no one due to our cultures insistance upon "convenience."
So, for the last 2+ years, I've been picking through the meat only garbage of a typical major retailer for food for my cats and dogs. 99% of this food is either on the day of expiration or only 1 day past it. Perfectly edible for even human consumption. Yet, its trash. Don't talk to me about people starving in this country, I've seen the reason.
This meat pickup that I've been doing for 2+ years is at an end, I won't be seeing the folly of modern convenience anymore going forward but you better believe that I will never forget it.