YEP Letters: June 8

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Food charity project investigation

Regular visitors to a Leeds charity which offers “pay-as-you-feel” meals have praised its fare as an investigation into use-by dates of its food gets underway. The Real Junk Food Project (RJFP) uses donated surplus produce which would go to waste to provide meals for people who can pay as much as they like or nothing. Volunteer chefs judge the quality of the food based on its smell taste and touch. But West Yorkshire Trading Standards (WYTS) has told co-director Adam Smith “offences may have been committed” under food safety and hygiene regulations and has invited him to an interview under caution. The story prompted some strong reaction from YEP readers on social media..

Liz Ineson

I can buy food in a highly rated shop, keep it as long as I like and eat it when I fancy, because I take responsibility for identifying whether it is edible.

No law binds me to eat it by the date stamped on it. Here we have sensible, caring people trying to help people get food at a price they can afford, allowing them the freedom to choose the foods they want and address its suitability, and eliminate unnecessary waste. And on the other hand we have clipboard hugging, tick list adoring, incapable of rational and independent thinking health and safety officers rule makers...

Joe Ford

Get round the car boot sales, arrest the ones selling fake goods. These people are doing what the government should be doing – looking after people who need help. Get your priorities right.

Amy Butler

Everyone needs to sign the petition. Don’t let them get away with shutting this place down, it’s charities like this that have become lifelines for families recently. Of course though, that’s why the government cannot let them exist. How are they supposed to control the population when people are getting fed for free?

Mog Hoare

The point of the Real Junk Food project is to reduce food waste, it makes no sense to prosecute them in any way. Everyone who uses it is fully aware of it’s ethos.

We lived for centuries without use by and sell by dates and most humans still have a sense of smell and taste which helps us know if food is off or not. Trading Standards are being nonsensical.

Sacha Hopkinson

Absolutely disgraceful – what a waste of time and money. This man is making a stand against food waste this country, it’s disgusting he is being made to look a criminal when that’s what the supermarkets are producing too much food that ends up in landfill.

Timothy Freemantle

I THINK this just pathetic. What the shop is doing as absolutly brilliant and I have eaten there and the food was really good. I will be going again with my family.

There is far too much food waist and the hole concept is bloody brilliant. The health and safety officers need to take a reality check and stop wasting public money.

The cafe helps so many families and people who struggle on a daily basis.

Keep up the good work. You’re doing an amazing service for the community.

Amanda Jayne Turpin

Shame on Trading Standards. Best before isn’t use by and everyone who goes knows some food may be out of date and has a choice to eat it or not.

Anne Dewsnip

I LIVE on out of date food! The whole point of the Junk Food Project is to use food that would otherwise be thrown out. Has anyone actually been ill after eating at one of their places?

Philip McDonald

The whole idea of a ‘date’ on most food is nonsense. If you grew it in your garden, how would you decide if it was ok to eat? Use your senses. This whole effort to derail the wonderful work done by Adam and people like him makes me wonder if he is being undermined by an industry with staggering waste.

Leo Fardy

It should be up to customers if they wish to use the shop or not. It’s not like the shop is trying to hide something.

Nicole Wright

I LIVE just around the corner from this cafe. When I’ve been parked on the street opposite it gets really busy with people that can’t afford to eat or drug users, alcoholics or homeless. I think it’s brilliant what they are doing there, looking after the people that probably need it most.

The world is full of so much hate lately and people nit picking on stuff that’s really not important, so what if a slice of bread is passed its best before date. Every little helps.

Tahir Asaf

They would rather these people starve then or better still why don’t Trading Standards provide a free cafe for them with in date food products?

Shaun Deakin

However notable his cause is, this is use by dates, not best before dates.

Use by dates are for high risk foods, normally raw, high protein and moisture content food that presents a serious risk of food poisoning if used past the date.

Not all bacteria and pathogens are killed in cooking and if used past the used by date, even if stored and cooked properly, have built up a level of bacteria and toxins that will prove harmful to health. Food past a use by date should never be served, sold or given away. Smelling, or checking this food is not a reliable way of assessing whether or not it is suitable for consumption. It should always be disposed of.

Food with a best before date is fine past its date. It may not taste as good or be as fresh but it will not cause you harm.

Jane Beer

I THOUGHT use by dates were for guidance. We all know that they can be ridiculous.

Joan Whitehead

What’s wrong with these authorities?

They obviously have nothing better to do, never been in need. Get too much public funding – our money. Totally uncharitable people who make these ridiculous rules and regulations. Charity is love for fellow men.

Obviously they don’t have any of that wonderful characteristic in their lives and would rather contaminate our world with more waste or see people struggle because they are in need. Where’s the compassion? Get a life. Enjoy caring and sharing. It doesn’t cost anyone anything but it does make life worthwhile.

Peter Boocock

Use by dates, a guide for when the produce will be at its freshest and tastiest. Meanwhile, my pickled capers, gherkins and onions are keeping very well indeed, well past their use by date.

Catherine Williams

My mother didn’t have a fridge, freezer or washing machine until I left school in 1977. The first five years of my life we lived in a rented farm house that had no power or plumbing, all the water for drinking, cooking and cleaning came from a well in the field. We never got food poisoning. We didn’t smell, we somehow managed to stay well fed, clean and healthy without any busybody droning on about dates.

Harry George

If other cafes/restaurants have to abide by these rules then so should they.

dansaz3131, via website

Civil servants protecting the public interest or preserving their ‘jobs’? Wait til there is a justifiable complaint from a consumer, then act to change. This place appears to be trying to help poor people.

YEP Letters: July 13