Thanks to a tip-off from a student, Critic now knows what happens to extra food from University-catered events.
A concerned student asked us to look into the apparent waste of food at University events. They reached out after they witnessed staff loading crates with uneaten food, apparently to be taken away and disposed of. So we asked the Uni if this was the case.
In a statement provided to Critic by the University’s Campus and Collegiate Life Services
Director James Lindsay, we found out that the Uni makes “every effort to minimise left-over food at events on campus. We advise people about appropriate levels of catering but the reality is that if fewer people attend than expected, food may be left over.”
If you want to help reduce food waste and get a free feed, start finding events that are likely to be catered by the Uni and unattended by students. Wait around for a while, and then ask for the leftover food.
Lindsay also advised that “whenever possible, food that has not been served will be used as extras for other catering purposes, subject to our Food Control Plan. Food that has been served will be discarded in accordance with our Food Control Plan.”
This Food Control Plan “helps ensure all the food we provide is safe for consumption” with Lindsay further stating that “we have to register our plan every year with the Ministry for Primary Industries and it is audited by an external auditor.”
Food waste is a massive conservation issue, with plenty of perfectly edible kai getting binned every year. According to Love Food Hate Waste, 157,389 tonnes of food a year is thrown out by New Zealand households — enough to feed a town the size of Dunedin for three years. This waste causes 409,234 tonnes of carbon emissions each year, which is the equivalent to the average emissions of 150,453 cars over the same timespan. Legal liability is a big reason why this stuff isn’t handed out for free.