If you knew what food waste went into the huge skips behind our Supermarkets, you wouldn’t be able to sleep at night!

About 95% of the food is perfectly edible, even if it has a short life.

Some Supermarkets do reduce their food throughout the day, with the price getting lower.

Others don’t bother and just dump everything nearing its Sell-by date in their skips.

We had a ready meal this week, reduced from £11 to £2.75. I wouldn’t usually buy ready meals, but we were in a hurry to eat, and I must say that we really enjoyed it, especially now that Supermarkets are putting less chemicals in their food.

Last Sunday I went in our local Tesco and I noticed them loading the contents of a large fridge into bin bags. They filled several trolleys and then they were wheeled away to be dumped. The fridge was a double one, 4 shelves high, so that was a lot of food! You can make a guess at the value. The reason? The electricity had gone off and the food was beginning to defrost.

I know for a fact that Tesco is manned 24/7 and the fridge temperatures are checked several times a day. There was nothing wrong with that food and it could have been sold cheaply with an explanatory sign, or given to local charities to be cooked up within a few hours.

How often do you place refrigerated or frozen food in your trolley, and then wander around the store for half an hour, followed by a journey home? Do you know anyone who has been seriously ill, or died?

It takes hours for refrigerated food to become dangerous, unless it’s left in your car directly in the sun!

I believe the limit for leaving food at room temperature is 5 hours.

When I complained to Customer Complaints, this is the reply I got.

The food wasn’t beginning to defrost because it wasn’t frozen!

Good Afternoon Mrs Funnell

Thank you for your reply.

I am sorry that I have not replied to your email regarding the Fridge breaking down.

I have called the store today and spoke to the duty manager who has said that they were made aware that there was a problem with one of the Fridges and once they had gone to check this, it had gone off due to a fault, so the food had not been chilling and for the safety of the customers, the store did not sell the food, as it had started to defrost.

I hope this information is helpful and please let me know if you have any further questions.

Kind regards

Karen Higgins

Tesco Customer Service

And here is the follow-up.


It’s a great subject of discussion nowadays. The food could have been sold/given away for immediate use, with an explanatory sign to say Tesco doesn’t accept responsibility & the food needed using that same day.

Nowadays when there are food banks to help hard-up people it could also have been offered to voluntary organisations for immediate cooking.

There were sacks & sacks of it!


Hello Mrs Funnell,

Thank you for your response.

I understand completely what you are saying, but I’m very sorry, we would never knowingly put anyone’s health at risk and as we don’t know how long the fridge was malfunctioning for, there is no way for us to establish if the goods would have been fit for consumption. 

If we had a 100% guarantee that the food was safe, then I am confident that the store would have donated as much as possible to any local charitable organisations.

Thank you again for your comments.


Kind regards

Jennifer Clancy

Tesco Customer Service
Tesco Customer Engagement Centre


We complain a lot about the OTT ‘Elf & Safety in this country, but we can get fined for putting the wrong rubbish in the wrong dustbin. So I seriously believe it’s time we had some Food Waste Inspectors, travelling round inspecting the contents of Supermarket skips and bins, and fining them for extravagant waste due to laziness.

Their dumping of perfectly good food keeps their prices high. They could sell A LOT more than they do!

Do you agree?