London

Games food 'immediately thrown away' after it is cooked

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Media captionWhistleblowers said they were told to throw away food up to five times a day

Staff working at a major Games caterer have claimed that large amounts of food prepared for teams are being thrown away.

Employees working for catering firm Aramark told BBC London they were being ordered to throw away food meant for Olympic and Paralympic teams immediately after it was cooked.

The Games' environmental watchdog has launched an investigation.

Aramark says it denies any suggestion it "improperly disposed of food".

The firm has been contracted by Locog, the Olympic and Paralympic organisers, to provide food at various Olympic venues including 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.

Trays of pancakes

Six whistleblowers working for Aramark at the Royal Holloway said they were being told to throw away large amounts of food up to five times a day.

They have asked to remain anonymous because they still work for the company.

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

Photos and videos taken by some employees show quantities of food thrown in bins.

Richard said workers were often told to cook food only for it to be thrown straight into the bin.

"The meat was cooked and then thrown away immediately. I just never experienced anything like that before," he said.

"I was shocked and horrified by it. This was happening during every food service; breakfast, lunch and dinner."

Waste target

Shaun McCarthy, chair of the Games' green watchdog, the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012, says he is concerned about the apparent food wastage.

"We will ask Locog to investigate their own subcontractor, and then we look at what they've done to do that investigation.

Image caption Locog say the amount being thrown away is comparatively little

"So yes, we will be investigating Locog; we clearly want to try and get to the bottom of this potentially very serious issue," he said.

Aramark, which has contracts to provide food for many UK institutions including schools, prisons and the BBC, denied the allegations.

A spokesman for the firm 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, said: "We are actually feeding 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."

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