Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: David Lazarus

Sampler Platter: promo Whopper has 7 patties, sparkling wine vs. champagne, urban chickening

Bill Connell, 55, stands in front of his Surf Dog stand in Carpinteria. He's been in the hot dog business since he left his native New Jersey when he was 38.

Urban chickens and urban food critics lead this end-of-the-week roundup of food news.

--Burger King's Windows 7 Whopper has 7 patties, 2,120 calories. Japanator
--The Atlantic explores six Australian foods worth trying and the role of food critics in the Internet age.
--Carpinteria hot dog vendor relishes his sales-tax victory. Los Angeles Times
--Sparkling wine is just as good as champagne (when it's well made). Consumerist
--The perils of urban chickening. New York Times
--David Lazarus asks: Is Smart Choices misleading? Los Angeles Times

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Bill Connell, 55, stands in front of his Surf Dog stand in Carpinteria. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Why is so much food tossed out?

Every night, large quantities of food are thrown away by markets all over the country. Credit: Carolyn Cole, Los Angeles Times. In his latest column, "Come on, people -- human hunger trumps politics and hassle," David Lazarus wonders...

At a time when record numbers of people are losing their homes, unemployment is rising and a growing number of families are in need, California caterers, hotels and restaurants throw out roughly 1.5 million tons of perfectly good food every year, according to the state Integrated Waste Management Board.

And you know what? If you're the one springing for that hotel banquet, wedding party or corporate event, you have the right to insist that any leftovers be donated to charity.

In fact, a 1996 federal law specifically shields people from liability for any problems resulting from food donations -- if someone gets sick, say.

So why is so much food ending up in the dumpster?

Basically, it's too much hassle. Progressive caterers are the exception. And when State Sen. Jenny Oropeza (D-Long Beach) introduced a bill, SB 1443, that required that caterers inform clients they have the option of donating uneaten food to charity, it was nuked by the California Restaurant Assn.

As Lazarus says: "It's unbelievably sad that the various parties in this equation can't come together for a genuine solution. The only barrier to getting all that food to people who need it is a little effort on everyone's part to make the appropriate arrangements." Click here to read more.

--Elina Shatkin

Photo: Every night, large quantities of food are thrown away by markets all over the country.

Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

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