In Canada, people waste upwards to 31 billion dollars in food each year. A recent discovery of potentially edible food by a Nunavut resident at the Pangnirtung landfill has left him angered.
On October 25, Nunavut resident, David Kilabuk was appalled after a grocery store chain, the Northern Store, dumped piles of meat, eggs, bread and vegetables at the local landfill.
“It is just cruel and heartless to waste this food where it is truly needed,” Kilabuk said. “It is just common sense to not waste food where it is truly needed.”
Kilabuk says the items which were thrown away were damaged as much as possible by whoever put them there so people wouldn’t pick them up.
“Why not give them to the food bank,” Kilabuk said. “We will most likely see higher prices on our food soon to make up for this loss.”
Derek Reimer is the Director of Business Development for The North West Company which runs the Northern Store in Nunavut.
“The community of Pangnirtung, NU, experienced a power outage last week,” Reimer said. “We were initially informed power would be restored the same day and anticipated minimizing any spoilage as a result.”
Reimer says, unfortunately, power was not restored to the community until approximately 5 p.m. the next day.
“In keeping with CFIA guidelines, practicing safe food-handling is an important part of our store operations. Our store was concerned about customer safety and decided to discard some refrigerated products and thawed frozen products out of an abundance of caution once they were informed power would not be restored,” Reimer said. “Our standard policy in these situations is to discount and then donate any unsold food that is safe for consumption to local food banks or meal programs if available in the community.”
Reimer says the company should have checked with the community sooner in the process to determine if any could be donated.
“This was a mistake on our part and we apologize to the community,” Reimer said. “We will remind our stores about the importance of our food donation policy and ask them to reach out to local officials in such circumstances going forward.”