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Million Jars of Peanut Butter Dumped In New Mexico Landfill

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the waste-not-want-not dept.

Government 440

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "The Guardian reports that a million jars of peanut butter are going to be dumped in a New Mexico landfill and bulldozed over after retailer Costco refused to take shipment of the peanut butter and declined requests to let it be donated to food banks or repackaged or sold to brokers who provide food to institutions like prisons. The peanut butter comes from a bankrupt peanut-processing plant that was at the heart of a salmonella outbreak in 2012 and although 'all parties agreed there's nothing wrong with the peanut butter from a health and safety issue,' court records show that on a 19 March conference call Costco said 'it would not agree to any disposition ... other than destruction.'

The product was tested extensively and determined to be safe. Costco initially agreed to allowing the peanut butter to be sold, but rejected it as 'not merchantable' because of leaking peanut oil. So instead of selling or donating the peanut butter, with a value estimated at $2.6m, the estate is paying about $60,000 to transport 950,000 jars – or about 25 tons – to the Curry County landfill in Clovis, where public works director Clint Bunch says it 'will go in with our regular waste and covered with dirt'. Despite the peanut butter being safe, Curry County landfill employee Tim Stacy says that no one will be able to consume the peanut butter once it's dumped because it will be immediately rolled over with a bulldozer, destroying the supply. Stacy added more trash will then be dumped on top of the pile. Sonya Warwick, spokeswoman for New Mexico's largest food bank, declined to comment directly on the situation, but she noted that rescued food accounted for 74% of what Roadrunner Food Bank distributed across New Mexico last year. 'Access to rescued food allows us to provide a more well-rounded and balanced meal to New Mexicans experiencing hunger.'"

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And so this is Costco's fault? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46616791)

In this litigious society, who can blame them. You can damn near guarantee that they'd have hit one bad jar in a lot that large and gotten the tar sued out of them. If you want to fix this situation and make sure it never happens again, demand tort reform in this country.

Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (2, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about 5 months ago | (#46616821)

I think the real reason is that if they give it away that's 950,000 jars of peanut butter they wont sell. Hard to compete with free. Never mind most of the people getting it free would not be able to buy it anyway.

Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (0)

DarkOx (621550) | about 5 months ago | (#46616887)

Could we also get it in Libraries of Congress by volume not weight of course.

Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46616905)

There's a hole in your logic. The donated peanut butter would go to those in poverty who are, in all likelihood, not shopping at Costco in the first place.
 
Donating things to people who aren't your target market doesn't harm your potential sales.

Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (5, Informative)

bondsbw (888959) | about 5 months ago | (#46616959)

You just couldn't read all three sentences, could you?

Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (1, Insightful)

oldhack (1037484) | about 5 months ago | (#46616987)

And you have a reading comprehension problem. That third sentence is irrelevant.

Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (0)

bondsbw (888959) | about 5 months ago | (#46617237)

Exactly in which interpretation of the English language is

Never mind most of the people getting it free would not be able to buy it anyway.

irrelevant to

The donated peanut butter would go to those in poverty who are, in all likelihood, not shopping at Costco in the first place.

?

Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 5 months ago | (#46617285)

I'll go slowly. I'll quote the sentence in question:

Never mind most of the people getting it free would not be able to buy it anyway.

The batch of PB given away/thrown away won't affect those who shop at CostCo, so what exactly does the sentence above add, except to negate the preceding ones?

Kids with twitter these days...

Costco's target market DOES buy extra goods (-1, Flamebait)

pepsikid (2226416) | about 5 months ago | (#46617001)

...to donate to food banks. If word spreads that NM food banks have all the peanut butter they'll need for this year, then Costco loses a tiny percentage of their expected sales of that item. I expect that the math works out to at or above $60k worth of peanut butter sales per year which are tracked to food bank donations. Thus, fcuk the needy, fcuk the peanut butter.

I say; boycott Costco peanut butter. Take multiple jars of it to the checkout counter, but then set them aside and say you aren't buying them.

Why? (4, Insightful)

Fwipp (1473271) | about 5 months ago | (#46617183)

Why on Earth do you think that the appropriate way to punish the bigwigs making these decisions is to make the employees' lives harder?

Re:Costco's target market DOES buy extra goods (5, Insightful)

blackicye (760472) | about 5 months ago | (#46617269)

I say; boycott Costco peanut butter. Take multiple jars of it to the checkout counter, but then set them aside and say you aren't buying them.

Please don't do this Costco will not be affected by it, you'll just be inconveniencing and aggravating the staff who will have to restock them.

Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (5, Funny)

AK Marc (707885) | about 5 months ago | (#46617007)

Sounds like someone trying to justify piracy. Why are you trying to pirate peanut butter?

Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 5 months ago | (#46617165)

Sounds like someone trying to justify piracy. Why are you trying to pirate peanut butter?

You wouldn't pirate peanut butter would you? I mean if you already have the peanuts, salt, sugar, etc. and mash them up by yourself you are stealing money from the huge peanut butter conglom, er, I mean hard working peanut factory workers.

Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (1)

Trachman (3499895) | about 5 months ago | (#46616913)

True, they will lose 950,000 jars in sale if the would donate. Also, corporations typically carry insurance for events like this and it will compensate for the loss. Any insurance premiums, retainers or even uninsured losses are also desirable because you can write off against taxes. If you donate, you can still get some tax deductions based on the cost of the goodies donated. To transcribe from corporate thinking: it is more profitable to claim insurance reimbursement than give it to charity, plus ensure that your own sales are not cannibalized, and absence of litigation. Other decision is hard to justify. In fact, corporations do that all the times.

Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46616993)

If you claim insurance then the unsold/damaged/unfit for sale peanut butter becomes property of the insurance company.

They'll flog it off in an auction to whoever will give them something for it. We've recently had a lot of these auctions in New Zealand after a major earthquake, in one case the insurance company came into a liquor store, took all the cartons of wine that were slightly damaged, took out the broken bottles and auctioned off the 8 or so good ones, with water damaged labels, for next to nothing.

Without James Sinegal, Costco is not well managed. (5, Interesting)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 5 months ago | (#46617179)

The underlying story may be this:

1) We don't know what actually happened between Costco and the testing facilities and suppliers. Even though samples were tested, there could be a concern that there were problems in the food that was not tested. Costco has not handled the public relations about this incident in a sensible manner: Costco officials did not return telephone calls seeking comment. [csmonitor.com]

2) Costco has become poorly managed since James Sinegal [wikipedia.org] is no longer CEO.

Ten years ago, Costco was wonderful. It was easy to make decisions about buying anything we saw at Costco, because someone else had been careful to stock only reputable products, products that people would buy if they had done serious research. Now we have to do our own research.

Costco employees still praise James Senegal. They sometimes criticize the poor quality of items that Costco now stocks.

Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (1)

danheskett (178529) | about 5 months ago | (#46617229)

Insurance is not the magic cure-all. For big enough corporations, there is no insurance. It's self-insurance. Costco may be big enough that they can't even get that type of insurance. Even if there was insurance, that doesn't solve the underlying problem. Liability is liability, whether hedge against or not.

The real thing here is that Costco should not be selling a defect product, or even giving it away. There is no way to totally waive liability - and there probably shouldn't be - for selling something defective. If the containers are leaking they are simply put, unfit for human consumption at any price or for any population. There is some food that is expired but not spoiled, and this is perfectly ethical to sell in a transparent way or to give away. But once it's a defective product - leaking peanut oil - it's simply not ethical to allow it to be consumed by humans. For one thing, it's going to be nasty. It's mixture is affected.

Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (4, Informative)

thesandbender (911391) | about 5 months ago | (#46616919)

People lining up at food banks aren't going to be going to costco and buying peanut butter in bulk. The same goes for families whose children benefit from school meal programs.

Unfortunately there is a degree of truth to the OP's comment about Costco being afraid of getting sued. I used to volunteer at "under privileged" schools and staff were specifically told not to give food to children in need but to direct them to one of the official programs. Litigation was cited as one of the reasons, as well as concern about children flying under the radar and not getting all the help they needed, etc. The cafeteria wasn't even allowed to give out unused food. The school district in this case was very concerned about getting their butts sued off because of a well intentioned act that went bad (it had happened before). It was a disheartening situation all the way around.

Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (3, Interesting)

SJester (1676058) | about 5 months ago | (#46617199)

Anecdotal, but I have another. A friend is finishing her last semester at a major culinary institute; naturally, they generate a lot of spare food at the school. But they are not allowed to take any of it off the campus. Instead, it is destroyed, and for the same reason stated : the school would be sunk if someone contracted food poisoning and sued. The students and staff do eat but sign hefty waivers. Although I do wonder - Costco does at least sell this food under normal circumstances, so apparently they do have a means of dealing with potential suits. I suspect this is more that they don't have protection for this avenue of distribution, only for sale. I don't know how that works in legal terms though.

Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46617293)

The safety seal was breached on at least some of the containers such that they were leaking oil. Once that happens it can't be sold or given away. If oil can leak out, then there's no guarantee that there hasn't been intentional tampering. Now, this was only a portion of the bottles, but it's expensive to check every single container. Costco buys in huge quantities.

Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (4, Informative)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | about 5 months ago | (#46616953)

I actually agree with the parent. Every single jar of peanut butter is a lawsuit waiting to happen, even if they give it away. Even if it's tested safe, Costco still assumes partial liability by handing that peanut butter over to the public. You could repurpose the lot into fertilizer or compost, but it's cheaper to bury the lot.

Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (2)

Dan East (318230) | about 5 months ago | (#46616979)

Your logic is not sound. The profit margin to be lost over one shipment of peanut butter is small change. Even if they made a 50 cents profit per jar, we're only talking about $475,000 in profit to be lost. But let's look further. The peanut butter would be donated to food banks and the like, for people who can't afford enough food. Did you know that Costco, like Sam's club, requires membership to shop there? So are you suggesting that these people with such a low income that they cannot afford food actually have a Costco membership, and that's where they purchase their peanut butter, and so that's why Costco would not accept the peanut butter? In other words, giving the peanut butter away would have Costco's competitors (Walmart, grocery store chains, etc) far more than it would have hurt Costco. That $475,000 in potential profit would have come out of the pockets of regular grocery stores, and not Costco.

Although it's fun to always beat up on corporate America, the evil motive you suggest is laughable in this case.

Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46617305)

The markup at Costco is about 10% over the wholesale price, the cost of membership is $55 for the gold star membership. If you're planning things carefully, you can definitely wind up saving money like that on virtually any budget. Especially if you go in with friends on the bulk purchases.

But that's immaterial seeing as the safety seals on the jars were breached meaning that there's no longer any guarantee that the peanut butter hasn't been tampered with or otherwise contaminated since it left the factory.

Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46617003)

If this is true than the RIAA are also telling the truth when they say a download is a lost sale.
 
Sorry folks, you can't have it both ways. How many sales would Costco really lose? These people wouldn't have bought it anyway.

Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (2)

gmhowell (26755) | about 5 months ago | (#46616853)

If nothing else, in this case, they should have received a special dispensation from the FDA.

Similar incidents in areas with large game kills. Hunters cannot in some jurisdictions (Maryland) give the meat from population management hunts to food banks or the like without going through the entire inspection process, at their expense.

There's no liability (5, Informative)

mapuche (41699) | about 5 months ago | (#46616881)

Clinton signed the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Emerson_Good_Samaritan_Act_of_1996

So no legal reason no to donate food.

Re:There's no liability (5, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#46616923)

Unless the courts decide that it was gross negligence. So the legal reason is still there.

Re:There's no liability (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 5 months ago | (#46617031)

Given the extensive testing, gross negligence would be a really hard sell.

Re:There's no liability (2)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 5 months ago | (#46617127)

And at what cost to Costco? Are they going to be able to recoup cost of legal defense? Not likely.

Re:There's no liability (2)

gordo3000 (785698) | about 5 months ago | (#46617219)

it's not about it being a hard sell..... it's about having to pay for lawyers to defend yourself over and over. it's not worth the time, and 60k doesn't buy very many hours of lawyer time.....

Re:There's no liability (1)

Jiro (131519) | about 5 months ago | (#46616935)

"Nothing in this section shall be construed to supercede State or local health regulations." I wonder what the state regulations are.

Re:There's no liability (2)

blue trane (110704) | about 5 months ago | (#46617051)

Dang, states' rights makes the problem worse yet again.

Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (0)

plopez (54068) | about 5 months ago | (#46617057)

No not tort reform. That just means insurance companies make more money. Reform food health and safety inspections. Thr problem is not lawyers. The problem is unethical and amoral manufacturers.

Re:And so this is Costco's fault? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46617101)

Who cares? It's Costco.

News for Nerdss (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46616801)

News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters.

Slashdot 2.0 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46616817)

Post a comment. It disappears.

Viva USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46616825)

Where full belly people laughing tell poor countries: do some work, you lazy bastards.

Re:Viva USA (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 5 months ago | (#46617171)

Over 20 years ago I watched news video from California plowing a HUGE mountain of perfectly good, edible oranges into the ground. They could have easily given them away to food banks, but I think they were more worried about keeping the store price of their oranges high.

Re:Viva USA (2, Informative)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about 5 months ago | (#46617249)

Over 20 years ago I watched news video from California plowing a HUGE mountain of perfectly good, edible oranges into the ground.

Goes back a lot farther than 20 years -- there's a passage in The Grapes of Wrath that talks about perfectly good produce being destroyed in order to prop up prices:

The works of the roots of the vines, of the trees, must be destroyed to keep up the price, and this is the saddest, bitterest thing of all. Carloads of oranges dumped on the ground. The people came for miles to take the fruit, but this could not be. How would they buy oranges at twenty cents a dozen if they could drive out and pick them up? And men with hoses squirt kerosene on the oranges, and they are angry at the crime, angry at the people who have come to take the fruit. A million people hungry, needing the fruit- and kerosene sprayed over the golden mountains. And the smell of rot fills the country. Burn coffee for fuel in the ships. Burn corn to keep warm, it makes a hot fire. Dump potatoes in the rivers and place guards along the banks to keep the hungry people from fishing them out. Slaughter the pigs and bury them, and let the putrescence drip down into the earth.

There is a crime here that goes beyond denunciation. There is a sorrow here that weeping cannot symbolize. There is a failure here that topples all our success. The fertile earth, the straight tree rows, the sturdy trunks, and the ripe fruit. And children dying of pellagra must die because a profit cannot be taken from an orange. And coroners must fill in the certificate- died of malnutrition- because the food must rot, must be forced to rot. The people come with nets to fish for potatoes in the river, and the guards hold them back; they come in rattling cars to get the dumped oranges, but the kerosene is sprayed. And they stand still and watch the potatoes float by, listen to the screaming pigs being killed in a ditch and covered with quick-lime, watch the mountains of oranges slop down to a putrefying ooze; and in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.

Rancid Peanut Butter? Mmmmm. (5, Informative)

Kuroji (990107) | about 5 months ago | (#46616829)

The company shut down in 2012. These were produced prior to the company's closure. This is probably not safe for human consumption at this point.

Consumer peanut butter's got a shelf life of roughly a year or two at most, generally. This stuff is on the edge of that point, if not past. A million jars of peanut butter being donated would probably sit on the shelves in a home being eaten over the course of a few months, which definitely puts it past the point where the peanut oil may begin going rancid -- and that's not accounting for all the jars that will sit in storage, probably for months if not years, waiting to be given out.

Donated food is usually donated because something was mislabelled or a pallet came loose and it wasn't suitable for sale due to damage to the container that doesn't jeopardize the product itself. This has been in storage for years. This is not suitable for donation, this is a bunch of jerks trying to make themselves look good and try to drum up donations while making a company that HAS given them donations in the past look bad because they're not giving them donations right now.

Re:Rancid Peanut Butter? Mmmmm. (5, Informative)

Radak (126696) | about 5 months ago | (#46616851)

The company shut down in 2012. These were produced prior to the company's closure. This is probably not safe for human consumption at this point.

According to TFA, the plant shut down in 2012 after the salmonella outbreak, but then reopened, closing again in October 2013. Presumably the peanut butter being landfilled will have been produced in late 2013, which leaves it well within reasonable shelf life.

Re:Rancid Peanut Butter? Mmmmm. (2)

Kuroji (990107) | about 5 months ago | (#46616875)

Perhaps, but how fast do you think a million jars of peanut butter are going to be distributed in New Mexico? The state barely has two million PEOPLE in it.

Re:Rancid Peanut Butter? Mmmmm. (2)

Radak (126696) | about 5 months ago | (#46616933)

That I don't know about. Just commenting about the likely production date. Peanut butter jars don't last very long in my kitchen, but that's just me. :)

Re:Rancid Peanut Butter? Mmmmm. (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 5 months ago | (#46617133)

Perhaps, but how fast do you think a million jars of peanut butter are going to be distributed in New Mexico?

So the reason that brought you to the conclusion you did was proven to be incorrect, and your reaction to this event was to immediately theorize about another reason to get to the same conclusion?

Which came first, chief?

Re:Rancid Peanut Butter? Mmmmm. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46616939)

WHy si this part being overlooked?
"but rejected it as 'not merchantable' because of leaking peanut oil."

Re:Rancid Peanut Butter? Mmmmm. (1)

Radak (126696) | about 5 months ago | (#46616981)

I saw that in TFA, but it specifically says "leaky peanut oil", not "leaking". It was unclear to me whether this meant the jars were actually leaking oil, which is certainly indicative of a problem or if it meant that the oil was leaking out of the peanut butter but remaining inside the jar, which isn't a problem and is typical of peanut butter that's been sitting for a while. If that's the case, it just needs a stir.

Re:Rancid Peanut Butter? Mmmmm. (4, Interesting)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 5 months ago | (#46616869)

It has tested as safe. But maybe due to the ever looming threat of legal actions it is better to dump it. My notion would be to mix it in with hog rations as they would probably love it.

Re:Rancid Peanut Butter? Mmmmm. (5, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 5 months ago | (#46617143)

Leave me out of it, you fat bastard.

Re:Rancid Peanut Butter? Mmmmm. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46616871)

The company shut down in 2012. These were produced prior to the company's closure. This is probably not safe for human consumption at this point.

Consumer peanut butter's got a shelf life of roughly a year or two at most, generally. This stuff is on the edge of that point, if not past. A million jars of peanut butter being donated would probably sit on the shelves in a home being eaten over the course of a few months, which definitely puts it past the point where the peanut oil may begin going rancid -- and that's not accounting for all the jars that will sit in storage, probably for months if not years, waiting to be given out.

Donated food is usually donated because something was mislabelled or a pallet came loose and it wasn't suitable for sale due to damage to the container that doesn't jeopardize the product itself. This has been in storage for years. This is not suitable for donation, this is a bunch of jerks trying to make themselves look good and try to drum up donations while making a company that HAS given them donations in the past look bad because they're not giving them donations right now.

Actually, peanut butter is one of the most resistant to peroxidation. Besides, TFA says the product was tested, and rancidity testing is relatively simple and almost certainly performed as part of suitability of the product for consumption.

Re:Rancid Peanut Butter? Mmmmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46616879)

Please do not bring reason into this argument. We all just want to point our finger at Corporate Amerika and tell everyone how evil it is.

Re:Rancid Peanut Butter? Mmmmm. (1, Funny)

blue trane (110704) | about 5 months ago | (#46616967)

No, no, we love corps. They always provide clear reasons why they want to destroy food, and succeed in communicating them rapidly. Also corps are people, and to err is human, so corps fuck up and shouldn't we just love them all the more for that.

Re:Rancid Peanut Butter? Mmmmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46617023)

" This is probably not safe for human consumption at this point."?

What? Peanut butter magically "is not safe for human consumption" are 2 fucking years?

After the zombies invade, you're going to starve because you've been brainwashed by expiry dates - and so are the zombies who try to feed on you.

New Mexico Landfill? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46616835)

E.T. loves his peanut butter pieces...

math (1)

hewearsmanyhats (2539624) | about 5 months ago | (#46616837)

isn't that less than one ounce per jar?

sticky (0)

stonebit (2776195) | about 5 months ago | (#46616845)

I'm imagining a bull dozer with peanut butter all over it's tracks. Peanut butter everywhere. Gumming up the dozer works. That would be nice to see. I'm sure there's a legal reason for it. Like Costco can't completely remove liability if someone gets sick from it. No matter what one law says, there's always another just around the corner to bite you in the ass when you give something away.

Re:sticky (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 5 months ago | (#46616975)

I wonder how corps manage to remove tax liability so thoroughly?

New Mexico landfill, eh? (1)

narcc (412956) | about 5 months ago | (#46616849)

This could put the E.T. documentary guys in a sticky situation.

If any slightest illness was ever even *suspected* (5, Insightful)

DutchUncle (826473) | about 5 months ago | (#46616857)

... then the news and legal worlds would turn on Costco like a pack of rabid dogs. Yes, this destruction of nutritious food seems like a terrible, horrible waste; but if there's even a chance that one single jar is tainted with salmonella, and someone gets sick, then the tone would change in a heartbeat to "heartless corporation knowingly rids itself of poisoned food". I can't blame them for playing it safe.

Re:If any slightest illness was ever even *suspect (5, Informative)

mapuche (41699) | about 5 months ago | (#46616909)

There's a law that avoids liability for food donation:

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-104publ210/pdf/PLAW-104publ210.pdf

Re:If any slightest illness was ever even *suspect (2, Insightful)

SensitiveMale (155605) | about 5 months ago | (#46616957)

Assuming you're right, that may work in the courts. With a judge. That definitely won't matter with the court of public opinion and probably wouldn't work with a jury.

Re:If any slightest illness was ever even *suspect (2)

blue trane (110704) | about 5 months ago | (#46617129)

How's the decision to destroy it working in the court of public opinion?

Re:If any slightest illness was ever even *suspect (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46616973)

Will that law repair the public image damage that would occur? Not a chance.

Re:If any slightest illness was ever even *suspect (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 5 months ago | (#46617135)

Why can't they be up front, open, honest: "We wouldn't eat these jars of peanut butter, but they've tested safe. Take them at your own risk."

The article notes that food banks remove the labels anyway.

Re:If any slightest illness was ever even *suspect (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 5 months ago | (#46617161)

No. But a week of Honey Boo Boo and Jersey Shore will.

Not so cut and dried. (1)

westlake (615356) | about 5 months ago | (#46617147)

There's a law that avoids liability for food donation:

"Avoids" is much too strong a word.

State and local health regulations are not superseded.

You remain legally responsible for injuries or deaths which result from your gross negligence or intentional misconduct. If it comes out in court that you donated food you knew had gone bad or was very likely to have gone bad, you are in trouble,

Re:If any slightest illness was ever even *suspect (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46616983)

Nope. Liability can only happen in the case of gross negligence. Clinton signs a bill to this effect.

I suspect that this might have to do with the fact that the jars were leaking/ But, hey that means it makers sense and isn't some corporation being meanies, or some false idea that it's due to the tort system. Which, btw, is fine and the amount of 'odd lawsuits' is very, very low.

Re:If any slightest illness was ever even *suspect (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46617049)

... then the news and legal worlds would turn on Costco like a pack of rabid dogs. Yes, this destruction of nutritious food seems like a terrible, horrible waste; but if there's even a chance that one single jar is tainted with salmonella, and someone gets sick, then the tone would change in a heartbeat to "heartless corporation knowingly rids itself of poisoned food". I can't blame them for playing it safe.

I agree. Lawsuits for every little thing are so prevalent now that I wouldn't take the slightest chance of doing something at work that could result in one.

The problem is so bad now that people completely unqualified for critical life-safety jobs are now safe in their positions despite the cost to other peoples lives. I deal with this every day, and there is nothing I can do, without being sued out of home and life...

sandwiched together (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46616861)

Well, at least all of the Atari E.T. cartridges now have an accompanying snack food.

How much peanut butter? (4, Funny)

LookIntoTheFuture (3480731) | about 5 months ago | (#46616867)

million jars of peanut butter

Jars of peanut butter come in many different sizes. Could you please convert the amount to Olympic Sized Swimming Pools?

Thanks.

Re:How much peanut butter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46617013)

A jar of peanut butter is 2 8oz cups. That's 16 oz. per jar, so approximately 16 million ounces. An Olympic swimming pool is approximately 84,535,040 oz. If I did my math correctly, that's just under 1/5th of a pool.

Re:How much peanut butter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46617045)

I'm pretty sure you can't swim in peanut butter, but maybe Mythbusters should revisit the swimming in syrup myth with peanut butter? You know... for SCIENCE.

http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/videos/swimming-in-syrup-minimyth.htm

convergence of wealth, lawyers, and arrogance (2)

LostInTaiwan (837924) | about 5 months ago | (#46616891)

Dumping $2.6 million worth of editable food when there are people starving is shocking to most of us. Yet, this is a reflection of our current law suit happy society.

Most of us has very little to loose and most food banks has very little to loose so our local food bank gladly take in our donated food items and we happily go on with our lives do what we can for people who are starving, one canned food at a time. Also, I've volunteered at the local food banks and base on what I've seen, Costco peanut butter is probably an upgrade to the various expired high fructose laden supermarket rejects.

Life is very different for our newly anointed fellow big corporate beings. In their billion dollar world, with their million dollar lawyers, somewhere, somehow, the meaning of starving people became irrelevant. After all, corporations do not understand the physical pain of starvation.

Re:convergence of wealth, lawyers, and arrogance (1)

khallow (566160) | about 5 months ago | (#46616965)

Most of us has very little to loose

Costco doesn't fall in that category.

After all, corporations do not understand the physical pain of starvation.

Completely irrelevant since corporations don't make decisions or understand things. People do.

Re:convergence of wealth, lawyers, and arrogance (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 5 months ago | (#46617153)

Have you heard of high frequency trading algorithms?

billion dollar world, million dollar lawyers (1)

whathappenedtomonday (581634) | about 5 months ago | (#46617033)

and

Dumping $2.6 million worth of editable food

What's wrong with this picture?

It's... (4, Funny)

maroberts (15852) | about 5 months ago | (#46616895)

Peanut Butter landfill time....

Lawsuits (4, Insightful)

Jiro (131519) | about 5 months ago | (#46616907)

"All parties agreed there's nothing wrong with the peanut butter from a health and safety issue" isn't legally binding on anyone who might later decide to sue the company. At best it might make lawsuits harder depending on what the exact liability rules are. Furthermore, even if they win the lawsuit, fighting one will cost money and bad publicity, especially when the newspapers can use the spin "it's from a plant that was condemned for salmonella poisoning, how irresponsible can this megacorp be?"

If they give away the peanut butter, they stand to lose quite a bit with nothing to gain except a little good publicity (said good publicity going down the toilet if anyone actually sues).

throwing away perfectly edible food for no reason (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46616911)

Anyone doing something like this (discarding mass quantities of perfectly edible, nutritious food) should be sent to the guillotine. People in this world are starving for no reason other than the greed of the few. We need a worldwide French Revolution type event where the top 1% is taken to the guillotine in a televised mass execution. The wealth of that top 1% would then be reditributed to the rest of the world by drones.

Nicely skewed (2)

Beavertank (1178717) | about 5 months ago | (#46616937)

The article summary does a good job of making it sound like Costco is the unreasonable bad guy in this, but every story has two sides. Why is Costco insisting on destroying the peanut butter?

Is it to avoid claims for payment on the shipment from the bankruptcy estate? Is it fears for later liability? Is it, as the summary tries very hard to imply, sheer obstinate evil?

If you're not going to even attempt to hide your bias, why even bother?

Re:Nicely skewed (1)

plopez (54068) | about 5 months ago | (#46617077)

This is slashdot, the write ups are always "fair and balanced".

Re:Nicely skewed (0)

blue trane (110704) | about 5 months ago | (#46617087)

Why wouldn't Costco tell us themselves? Maybe they know there are enough corporate shills out there to defend whatever selfish act they might do, so why bother?

Re:Nicely skewed (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 5 months ago | (#46617189)

Why wouldn't Costco tell us themselves? Maybe they know there are enough corporate shills out there to defend whatever selfish act they might do, so why bother?

Maybe they tried but the summary didnt give a fuck what costco said? Maybe this lack of intellectual honesty extends beyond slashdot summaries as well?

Maybe if you didnt live your life based on logical fallacies like plurium interrogationum you wouldn't be such a giant tool?

Could we please stop (1, Offtopic)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 5 months ago | (#46616941)

With these click-bait posts from Hugh Whazzizname's blog multiple times a day here on Slashdot?

Or at least give us an effective way to block stories by submitter?

Humans are not 100% efficient? (1)

Cthefuture (665326) | about 5 months ago | (#46616961)

Humans are not 100% efficient? I can't believe it, I mean we're all statistical robots are heart... Right? Right...???

Please give this tainted "butter" to some needy 3rd-world shiathole. I will feel better in my mansion.

Now, where can we get a million jars of chocolate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46616971)

That would be delicious.

One of these things is not like the other. (3, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | about 5 months ago | (#46616989)

What "all parties have agreed to" for the narrow purpose of settling a bankruptcy suit is not the same thing as "accepting legal responsibility for the charitable distribution of perishable foods that have been in storage for a minimum of two years."

If you want to ignite a food riot in a school or prison, serving rancid peanut butter is as good as any place to begin.

Re:One of these things is not like the other. (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 5 months ago | (#46617187)

If you want to ignite a food riot in a school or prison, serving rancid peanut butter is as good as any place to begin.

Where can I buy tickets?

God damn it (1)

oldhack (1037484) | about 5 months ago | (#46616997)

A little salmonella never killed nobody.

Socialism! Destroy it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46617009)

If they donate the peanut butter, no-one will buy peanut butter. Seriously, that's what it boils down to. Greedy fucking corporations, as usual - they only ever do anything charitable so long as it doesn't negatively impact them.

Donate what we refuse to sell? Fuck that! Capitalism means that if I have to burn down every peanut tree* in order to sell peanut butter, I will.

*Note to self, look up where peanuts come from.

Think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46617011)

of the starving people in India!

The bulldozer requested a very large glass of milk (1)

Kevoco (64263) | about 5 months ago | (#46617035)

(lol)

I performed the recall for Peter Pan recall... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46617065)

I remember performing the recall for Peter Pan in the area. We were paid cash to go to local stores and warehouses and purchase the product. I had to destroy it following USDA and FDA requirements. That was 12,760 pounds of peanut butter.

A number that won't soon leave my head. the pictures of the world's happiest dog still are with me. I had the full suite going on, a rental truck to pick up pallets worth, & the bank, calling to ask if I had fraudulent charges at the local grocery store chain. it's a great story I continue to share to this day

Covering their butts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46617091)

If they had donated it to charity, and even ONE person had gotten sick from salmonella, the liability and potential damages to Costco would be huge. Can you blame them?

Animals/Fuel (2)

PaddyM (45763) | about 5 months ago | (#46617099)

Are people the only animals that consume peanut butter? Can't this be converted to biodiesel or something? I understand the concern for human illness, but aren't there other options?

Landfill? (5, Interesting)

idji (984038) | about 5 months ago | (#46617125)

Why is this going to landfill - how backward is that? Who does landfill anymore? That stuff is full of oils and proteins. It could be turned into biodiesel or put into a furnace to generate heat and electricity.

This Isn't Necessarily A Bad Thing (4, Interesting)

IonOtter (629215) | about 5 months ago | (#46617137)

This sort of thing has happened before, and it will happen again. An even better example was when the MV Cougar Ace almost sank, and 4700 brand new Mazda cars hung at a 60 degree angle for several months. [googleusercontent.com] They never moved, and they were all in seemingly perfect condition.

Mazda chose to err on the side of caution, [neatorama.com] rather than risk a lawsuit. Or even worse, there was a very valid concern that they would become "Katrina Cars". A coat of paint, and they would be bundled up and sold in some other unsuspecting country. [nbcnews.com] (On a side-note, the destruction process is really cool! [wsj.com] .)

With waivers not being worth the paper they're printed on, it's simply not worth the risk of getting sued.

And finally, there's the "soft damage" to take into consideration? Remember the kid in preschool who "had cooties"? That kid KEPT those cooties, right up until graduation day in high school. Costco might never allow a single jar to hit their normal distribution system, but just the simple fact that the peanut butter even exists at all, is a risk that someone, somewhere, will say, "Whoa, Costco peanut butter might have salmonella."

Play "Telephone [wikipedia.org] " with that for a while, and suddenly Costco can't pay someone to take a jar of peanut butter. This is actually a very safe, very beneficial tactic for Costco.

Now consumers can be absolutely guaranteed that they will never have to think about whether Costco peanut butter is safe.

And in retail, that's money in the bank.

Recycle (2)

RayHs (888369) | about 5 months ago | (#46617151)

Ok so maybe nothing can be done with the peanut butter but that sounds like alot of glass or plastic that could at least be recycled.

Biofuel/compost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46617185)

If people had the willies simply because it was associated with a bad company, they could have separated the peanut oil for biofuel and composted the rest. I bet it would have made a rich and perfectly safe compost.

We blame Costco because..... (1)

Semmi Zamunda (2897397) | about 5 months ago | (#46617271)

Deeper pockets? In the end their lawyers told them that anything short of declaring it unfit for human consumption wasn't safe. The reason they did this is because of scumbag other humans who decide to try to sue for millions because they got some rancid peanut butter. Make sure you place the blame properly....

Leave it to a left-wing Soros company (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46617307)

To destroy food rather than have it feed the poor people they claim to want to help so badly...

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