A recent discovery from a restaurant food dump has given the American public a rare glimpse into the ways our food is thrown away.
A food safety expert with the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Inspector General, David Fennell, found that the food dumped in a Walmart parking lot was not from a family’s dinner party.
The food was purchased from a different Walmart store in California, according to CNN affiliate KGO.
The restaurant owner is reportedly still paying a penalty for not reporting the loss.
The company also is still investigating the cause of the food loss.
Fennel found that most of the Walmart food found in the dumpster came from the same store as the stolen cooking oil.
“The fact that the stolen food was not actually stolen, but instead came from a Walmart restaurant is quite telling,” Fenn, a food safety researcher with the USDA’s Office of Investigations and Analysis, told KGO in an email.
“It suggests that the theft of cooking oil from a store in a store that sells other cooking oil is not a random act of violence.”
Fennill said that Walmart’s lack of a storewide policy for reporting food theft could potentially make the company less vigilant about the food it sends home.
Walmart’s failure to follow the rule “suggests a lack of respect for the safety of foodstuffs that come into their stores,” Finnell said.
The new information also adds to a growing list of restaurant food safety concerns.
Last month, CNN reported that a Walmart employee was found to have mishandled and sold thousands of tainted food samples, including several that were found to be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.
At least two people have died after being exposed to contaminated food in a warehouse in Alabama.
Walmart said that the contamination is contained.
“As a result of our ongoing investigation, we have implemented changes to our food storage and handling procedures to ensure that food that was purchased by our associates is not reused,” the company said in a statement.
The news comes after the company has been embroiled in an ongoing food safety crisis that has caused the deaths of more than 100 people.
The investigation by Fennll was prompted by reports that at least one person died from E.coli poisoning in 2016 after accidentally ingesting tainted meat.
Last week, a federal judge ordered the company to stop selling contaminated food, saying that Walmart was not doing enough to prevent the spread of the disease.
Fink, the Food Safety Specialist, is the lead investigator in the investigation, according and is the USDA investigator assigned to the case.