Expired packaged food thrown away in a garbage dump by a food retailer in Wuhan has been reclaimed by local residents who are eating and even reselling it.
Photographs taken last Monday show residents picking over a garbage dump littered with food products like cream chocolates, chicken feet, and tea eggs. As some residents begin collecting and hoarding the food, others are seen eating it on the spot.
The expired food was thrown out by a local food retailer in the city’s Hankou area after being hit by local flooding.
Some residents are seen loading up carts and vans with expired food taken from the garbage dump. Reports say interest in the discarded food was so high that some Wuhan residents came out after sundown to continue scavenging.
The scavengers told a reporter at the scene that the expired food was going to be repurposed into pig feed. However, reports go on to say that the expired food was instead resold to other Wuhan residents.
The People’s Daily reported that only a small amount of expired food had been thrown away at the garbage dump, and that only a small minority of Wuhan residents were scavenging the throwaway food. The State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) is said to have performed an inspection of local markets for the expired food, but has not found any evidence of it.
The People’s Daily also reported that expired food is now being destroyed in Wuhan before being discarded.
In 2014, the SFDA vowed to crackdown on the illegal sale and disposal of expired food, claiming to revoke the licenses of violators that would be put on a “blacklist”.