Angry diner’s image of food left by table of three at iftar sparks debate
This was the leftover food that a family of three walked away from after tucking in at iftar, prompting one angry diner to share the photograph online and spark a debate about waste.
Fifteen plates were crammed on to the table in the minutes before the trio ended their fast.
A mother, father and child picked at the meal before leaving, according to a nearby diner who spoke to 7DAYS after sharing the image on Reddit.
More than 80 people commented on the thread, with one, Java Beans, writing: “This is disgraceful. That’s exactly the opposite of what Ramadan is for.”
It has been estimated that more than three million tonnes of food (worth about Dhs14 billion) is wasted in the UAE every year.
The outraged diner, who gave his name as Majid, said he took the snap at a restaurant in Dubai.
He said: “I promised myself I would not go to a buffet again. All I could think of was how many people sleep every night with empty stomachs.
“It was at an iftar buffet. There were two people and a child eating and they started putting food out 15 minutes before iftar. You could tell they weren’t going to finish what they put on the table.”
A charity drive to collect leftover iftar food is attracting support from more and more hotels.
The project manager of ERC’s Saving Grace Campaign, Sultan Mohammed Al Shehi said that some of the bigger hotels that offer iftar buffets have agreed to donate surplus iftar food to the campaign.
Last year, 7DAYS reported that hotels were reluctant to give away food because of the possibility of being held liable in case of food poisoning.
However, Al Shehi believes the attitudes of hotels in the country are slowly shifting.
Just 12 signed up for the campaign last year, but Al Shehi said this year’s figure is 30 already.
Al Shehi said: “There are about 30 hotels in Abu Dhabi that are participating in this campaign with us, a few in Dubai and Ajman.
“We are speaking with the authorities in Dubai who can help get more hotels on board to join the campaign.
“Yes, the hotels used to worry about what kinds of food are safe to give away, but with the right information provided to them more and more hotels are coop
erating with us. They are starting to feel more comfortable with us.
“Last year, we distributed 45,000 meals in the month of Ramadan. This year I think it will reach to a little more than 50,000.
“We have a lot more vans that are being used to go to different hotels and collect food as compared to last year.”
The restaurant manager at a hotel in Abu Dhabi, that participated in the campaign last year, said that people take more food then they can eat during iftar but there is also “plenty” of leftover food from the buffet that’s untouched.
The manager said that hotels “shouldn’t worry” about donating to the ERC once they have all of the relevant information about what kind of food they can give away.
The manager said: “I think what authorities most of the time are concerned about is when hotels give away fish, eggs or milk that may have gone bad and can be unhealthy to consume.
“So, if hotels just ask the municipalities about what is considered okay to give away, then there shouldn’t be any problem – foods such as rice or pasta.”
SAVING GRACE: Chefs load up food to help support the ERC’s campaign