Taking food thrown out by supermarkets should not be illegal
A woman in Essex was arrested for 'theft by finding' for taking food from around the back of a local Tesco Express after the food had been thrown out because of a power cut. If you can feed yourself and your family with the food that a supermarket doesn't want when it would otherwise go to waste, why shouldn't you? On the other hand, it is unpleasant to have to deal with scavengers and Tesco could have gotten into legal trouble if the food had already spoiled and the woman became ill with food poisoning.
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It isn't stealing to take something that has been thrown away.
'Theft by finding' implies that someone lost something and you found it and failed to return it. This isn't the case if someone threw something away. Tesco don't want the food back and have no intention of doing anything with it. If taking away rubbish was illegal, refuse disposal workers would be criminals.
its like arresting a freakin mouse they are the ones who threw away their food so its not exactly theirs any more so how does it become theft when she took something that is free (i guess) damn i feel sorry for the innocent women who got arrested i mean come on for all we know she might be poor or something or starving you arrested someone who was trying to stay alieve wow that is ummm i dont know CONFUSING!
You can't just do what you like with your garbage - you can't dump it anywhere, especially if its potentially harmful, you can't overfill your bins or they won't be taken away, some countries make it illegal not to use the correct recycle bin. If someone just picks up your rubbish and walks away with it, they could be doing anything with it.
Waste not, want not.
It is a waste for the supermarket to just throw the food away when someone else can eat it, and then not even let people take it away. Only the poorest and hungriest people would resort to scavenging from the back of a shop, they need the food the most and can't afford to buy it, so why not let them have the food?
The food couldn't have been sold anyway, the shop can't stay open if it has no power and they couldn't have refrigerated the food, so they couldn't store it for long enough for someone to buy. If the shop actually had a plan to store it somewhere else and sell it at a reduced price or or give it to charity, that would be different, but they are just throwing thousands of pounds worth of food away.
Such a policy would make the shop more popular in the long run.
From the supermarket's point of view, they would be saying that it is okay for people to just take their food away for free, which in financial terms is just as big a waste. It is also likely to result in further demands - 'that's clearly going off the sell by date, can't you just give it me for free?'
It will promote active waste management by stores
If we allowed people to take food that was carelessly left exposed to the public, supermarkets could indeed get in trouble for allowing their products to get into the wrong hands and be consumed. They could attain liability[[http://www.food.gov.uk/foodindustry/regulation/foodlaw/]] from people eating such food. Whilst this may seem like a miscarriage of justice, by allowing it to legally occur, we will be encouraging supermarkets to dispose of their waste more efficiently.
This is effectively using the public's safety as bait for supermarkets to do something which the law should be making them do anyway!!! Why do we not just change the law on environmental management? Ensure that supermarkets comply with environmental responsibility. This will solve wider issues as well as the one currently in dispute.
Super Market Waste is ridiculous
Supermarket waste is already far to high anyway and most of the stuff thrown away is not actually dangerous it gets thrown away because it doesn't look right or is not fitting with the supermarkets food standard, as well food is not even chucked away if it has gone off it gets chucked away if it is close to going off and as most supermarkets get there bins emptied every couple of days most of the stuff in there is fresh and perfectly fit for eating even with complete packaging. I often go scavenging in the bins behind my local supermarket I don't agree with the waste and see it as a cheaper and worthwhile thing to do. don't get me wrong some of the food is bad for you and unedible once its chucked out like meat for example but this just requires some common sense on the part of the person who goes rooting.
Not Deprived of Anything
No one was deprived of anything nor their rights therefore there should be no crime.
The supermarket could get into legal trouble.
Food that is thrown out is below the standard that it can be sold, it could have been there for days and could have already spoiled. If someone ate from the bin and became seriously ill from food poisoning or even died, the supermarket could be found liable.
If food is unfit to eat to the extent that it is actually dangerous, it should be disposed of more carefully than leaving it in bags outside the back of the shop. What if it spreads diseases, animals eat it or desperate people eat it whether or not it is legal?
Alternatively, if legislators rule it to be legal, perhaps they should also grant legal protection to the supermarkets. They have not represented the food as safe, quite the opposite in fact. Everyone doing it knows that most of the food is rejected for safety reasons.
Scavengers cause problems for the shop and make the atmosphere unpleasant.
People skulking around the bins would create a hostile atmosphere that discourages people from shopping there, especially at night, employees might get hassled, there might be violence if people fight over the food, people might use it as a place to do drugs.
Not everyone who would want to eat food thrown out is an unpleasant scavenger. The woman was just an ordinary shopper who saw an opportunity for some free food. Students will also do anything for free food because they are in so much debt through no fault of their own. Some Freegans (http://frugalliving.about.com/od/bargainshopping/p/Freegan.htm) will eat food that would have been thrown away because of a well planned out strategy to live with as little waste as possible and as an anti-consumerist statement. Security guards should be intelligent enough to know the difference and to use their common sense to keep dangerous intruders away.
Society has an obligation to prevent this kind of behavior
1) The argument for legalizing the taking of food out of supermarket dumpsters is thoughtless and foolish.
2) Allowing people to take food from dumpsters would create a greater risk and burden for society than the poverty or hunger that provokes such behavior.
3) Trash cans and dumpsters are inherently dirty places and much of the food being thrown out is already spoiled. These facts make grocery store waste containers harbingers of disease. By arresting or threatening to arrest individuals who "dumpster dive", we are protecting them from illness and freeing up the time and resources available in medical facilities for less preventable injuries and illnesses.
4) Society and the government have a responsibility to protect people from illness and conserve its social resources, preventing people from eating out of the trash is a part of that responsibility.
5) If dumpster diving were legal, supermarkets would be liable for the divers' illnesses and would likely have vagrant encampments behind or near their storefronts. People would become ill and possibly infect others, threatening the health of taxpayers as well as leaching their money through emergency medical services.
She didn't get charged with dumpster diving, she got charged with theft. No one was deprived of anything except the roaches in the dumpster, therefore it is not theft.
Tesco Would Not Get in Trouble
It is not true that Tesco would have gotten in trouble. If she would have gotten sick with food poisoning, she would have no due course because she took the food from a dumpster. All reasonable people know that a dumpster is certainly not the healthiest source of food and this is what the courts would decide.
What do you think?