Thought for Food: Recycle It
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Thought for Food: Recycle It

Restaurants and take-out establishments cannot, by law, donate leftover prepared foods out of concern for liability in case of spoilage, said Yossi Mizrahi of Foster Village Kosher Delicatessen in Bergenfield.

Mizrahi and the owners of other kosher restaurants report that they don’t have a significant amount of left at the end of the day anyway, since they mostly cook to order. But some, such as Dougie’s Bar-B-Que in Teaneck, regularly donate meals upon request for families in need through Jewish Family Services.

For bakeries, the situation is different because most of their leftover products won’t spoil. Teaneck’s Butterflake Bake Shop employee Louise Mills said that several different organizations pick up its unsold items: on Tuesdays, a Jewish group from Monsey; on Wednesdays, a Hackensack church; on Thursdays, a Manhattan food-distribution organization; on Fridays, St. Anne’s Church in Teaneck. On Sundays and Mondays, Mills brings the goods to the Martin Luther King Jr. Senior Center and a senior housing complex in Hackensack.

Zayde’s Bake Shop in Fair Lawn posts a list of local organizations, such as soup kitchens and veterans groups, that come every evening to pick up unsold baked goods, says owner Ann Steinberg.

As for caterers, most simply package unused food in large foil pans and give it to the family to use or donate elsewhere.

"It’s a good thing there are people willing to pick it up," said Landau of A Bite of Heaven. "Many of my clients have a lot of food left over, and it’s more than an average family can eat."

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