Leftovers ap links people who want to share extra food

Leftovers didn’t used to be my thing. I used to loathe the idea of eating the same meal the next day (unless it was Thanksgiving turkey). With age my lifestyle and tastes have changed. I get up early, run a couple of times a week and have embraced the world of reheating food from the night before.Cold Pizza

I do a lot of the weekend cooking at our house and make meals that turn into at least another dinner and usually a couple of lunches. I get that this isn’t revolutionary (note the large market for Tupperware) but is new for me.

There is apparently a subgroup of leftover-avoiding folks out there who are also concerned with food waste, leading to  the development of a leftover sharing ap. According to KCRG, developer Dan Newman created LeftoverSwap as a way for folks to share extra meatloaf or chicken casserole with others in their location.

“We only eat 60 percent of the food we produce, and that is pretty much a global stat,” said Dan Newman.

He and some friends came up with the solution a few years ago, after ordering too much pizza.

“So all this pizza was going to go to waste. And we thought, how cool of an idea would it be to find a place or find someone in the area who would be interested in eating this pizza?”

That idea grew into a smartphone app called “leftoverswap.”

It’s easy to use: just take a picture of the food you don’t want to go to waste, and then post it through the app. It then drops a pin on your location with a picture and description of the meal, no exchange of money involved. Newman says it also works for unopened and canned foods, but food experts say the app raises safety concerns.

“So you don’t know if it was refrigerated when the person got home, or if they left it on the counter, you also don’t know if they sneezed or coughed into the food, had any saliva in the food when they were eating it. Also, there’s a food defense concern, so you don’t know if they inserted anything in it that could be harmful to you,” said Rachel Wall, a food nutrition specialist with ISU Extension (temperature abuse after sneezing would be a problem. Coughing is pretty low risk, but gross. Saliva would matter if the person was ill- ben).

Newman admits there is the possibility that traded leftovers could make you sick.
But, like with Craigslist, he hopes people will use common sense.

“Don’t give away anything you wouldn’t eat yourself. And if you do take food, make sure you prepare it properly,” Newman said.

What does prepare it properly mean? I’d want to know whether the members have the tools and info necessary to make food safely – and whether they actually did it.

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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.