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Aramark under fire over Olympic food waste claims

06 September 2012 by
Aramark under fire over Olympic food waste claims

Contract caterer Aramark has come under fire after staff working at the firm's Olympic catering sites highlighted to the BBC that they were being ordered to throw away food meant for the Olympic and Paralympic teams.

Six whistleblowers said they were told to throw away large amounts of food up to five times a day.

However, Aramark has denied that any suggestion that it had "improperly disposed of food".

Aramark provides catering at the athletes' village in Stratford, and the sailing centre in Weymouth, but the allegations relate to the Royal Holloway venue, which serves rowing teams at Eton Dorney.

One employee, "Richard" told the BBC: "Certainly, every single day I would be binning 20kg of prawns here, 15kg of fish fillets there, 40kg of vegetables, 20kg of meat.

"It was an accumulative process which would result in metric tonnes of food being wasted each week."

Another employee, "Jackie", said: "Each day you would have a full commercial-size tray of scrambled eggs, a tray of baked beans, a tray of sausages a tray of rashers… trays and trays of pancakes have been thrown away.

"At least after every service, maybe two to three trays at our peak period."

The games' green watchdog, the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, said it would ask the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (Locog) to investigate the claims against the contract caterer.

Aramark said: "We refute any suggestion that we have improperly disposed of food.

"We have strong practices in place to ensure the integrity of the food procurement, food production and waste management processes."

Locog pays for the purchase and disposal of all food provided by Aramark during the games. The ordering of food is calculated by Locog.

Jan Matthews, the head of catering, cleaning and waste services at Locog, told the BBC: "We are actually serving over seven tonnes of kimchi, for example; we're doing over 760 tonnes of beef.

"So when you get to those volumes I can understand that people would think that number of kilos is a lot when you go shopping at Sainsbury's and you buy half a kilo of beef.

"But when you're talking about tonnage, which we're talking about over this period, comparatively that's not a lot.

"We have a target of wastage which Aramark has to adhere to, and they are currently doing that."

By Neil Gerrard

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