Have you ever not been able to finish your meal when dining out? Do you take your leftovers home?  I have never met a leftover I didn't like, but I know people who are like "Bleck! Leftovers, nasty!" So what happens to that food?

Is it possible, heck, is it legal for a New York State restaurant to take food that was on your plate, or on your table, but not eaten, and then sell it again? What happens to all that food anyway?

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Can a restaurant legally sell food that you didn't eat, but was on your table?

Pinkypills
Pinkypills
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At times like this, post-pandemic, I can't imagine anyone doing this, but while it might happen, not just only in New York, but the entire world, it isn't legal here. Besides, gross. Here is one point, if you know you are not going to, say, eat the complimentary bread, don't let them even put it on your table.

So what happens to all the 'extra food' from a New York State restaurant?

Dutchess Co. Restaurant Gets Death Threats Over Popular Menu Item
Mill House Brewing Company
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Believe it or not, NYS has been taking reducing restaurant food waste very seriously. In fact, they have implemented a few programs to help with it. Food scraps, ones that are scraped off a customer's plate or ones that are just not enough to make it to a plate can go into community recycling programs. NYS actually requires places now to recycle them Maximum extent practicable (SIC).

What about food that the restaurant can't use because they over-ordered and it's going to go bad if it isn't used?

Garbage Plate
T. Dickson
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New York State has a program for that too. The program is for restaurants to be able to donate prepared food and then get a tax break incentive for doing so. One of the biggest programs known in our area is Panera Bread. At the end of the night, items that are remaining from the day are donated. This is just one example of what many restaurants are doing. Think about it, people and organizations that need food will have access to it. More info about the NYS Recycle and Donation Food Programs, click here, but heads up, it is a PDF. 

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