Shop to sell 'unwanted' food for $1

Lydia Lam, My Paper AsiaOne 20 Apr 16;

What happens to food that is still in good condition but is close to its expiry date? It is often wasted, which is why The Food Bank Singapore is setting up a shop where such items are sold for $1 each.

The non-profit organisation is launching The Food Pantry, a shop space that will sell consumable items, which have less than two months of shelf life, for that sum, regardless of brand or product type.

The store will start operating from Monday at Sims Avenue and will sell donated items such as canned foods, biscuits, beverages, sauces and confectioneries.

"You never know what you are getting as our donations are very varied," Nichol Ng, co-founder of The Food Bank Singapore, told My Paper.

Plans to sell fresh fruit and vegetables that are unwanted as they are considered "ugly" - though they are perfectly edible - are in the works too.

"It's a platform for us to raise awareness on food wastage reduction and change the way consumers shop," said Mr Ng.

The store, which is comparable to the size of a provision shop at about 500 sq ft, is more thrift shop than supermarket, he added.

The outlet will also double as a drop-off point for those who wish to donate food.

Donors are encouraged to give packaged food that is unopened and with at least a week of shelf life.

Asked where the money from the transactions will go to, Mr Ng stressed that The Food Bank Singapore is not using this as a fundraiser.

"All money raised will be used to cover manpower, utilities, rental and other packaging expenses," he said.

"If there should be ever any excess, it will go back to supporting our usual operations to manage donations."

Established in 2012, The Food Bank collects, stores and distributes donated food to beneficiaries such as family service centres, homes, soup kitchens and other voluntary welfare organisations.

When contacted, a spokesman for the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said the safety of a food product is not dependent solely on its expiry date.

"Food products that are not properly stored or handled can be unsafe to consume even if their expiry dates have not passed," she said.

"It is paramount that consumers check the food product for signs of spoilage such as odour or bulging packaging before consumption."

She added that food products should not be consumed if there are any concerns about their safety.

For more information on good food safety practices, go to: www.ava.gov.sg.

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