Submitted by: Veronica Coffin
For the past five years, a Kansas City-based non-profit has collected leftover food to feed the hungry in their community.
This year, barbecue chefs volunteering with Kookers Kare gathered over 4,000 pounds of meat and side dishes to dole out to citizens in need, but that all changed when a Kansas City Health Department food inspector got involved.
As Fox4 KC reports, 700 pounds of the BBQ was thrown out after the inspector explained it came from an establishment that didn’t have a permit, so they couldn’t track where the food had been.
To ensure no one would reach in the trash and grab the food, health officials even poured bleach over it.
Kookers Kare president, Gary Denham, explained that his team only collected food that was either extremely hot or freezing cold, before distributing it to Christian non-profit Hope City.
Bill Durkes, Hope City Associate Director, said the move came as a huge shock to the entire community:
“Everyone out there is like, alright, we are going to eat. Beans, potatoes, brisket, burnt ends, ribs, it’s awesome…
It was the whole gamut, if you can think of the most magnificent barbecue spread that’s what we threw away yesterday [Nov. 2] by the hundreds of pounds.”
The Kansas City Health Department has since defended their decision to douse the food with bleach.
Operations Manager Joe Williamson told Fox4 KC:
“All of that food was not inspected, so that makes it from an unapproved source, it can not be served to the public.
Was it held at the proper temperature when it was collected, when it was transported, how was it transported, stored, stacked, these are all questions we couldn’t answer and no one could tell us.”
Many feel the government overstepped its boundaries in throwing out seemingly good food.
On Facebook, Thomas Bunetta said:
“This is government gone wrong!”
Doug Stockman added:
“Government intervention at it’s finest.”
And Jeffrey Costello echoed their sentiments:
“This is just wrong another example of government overreach. Really sad.”
Harvesters Director of Communications Sarah Biles said the future status of the food drive is unknown, as safety regulations continue to get tighter and tighter each year.