German Nanny State Wants to Shut Down Food Donation Service

Hygiene violations like "torn packaging" could end Berlin's food-sharing fridges.


Foodsharing, a German volunteer service that

Foodsharing in Germany

enables people to donate leftover food for the hungry, could be facing its doom if a Berlin regulatory agency implements its proposed enhanced hygiene guidelines. 

Deutsche Welle reports that foodsharing fridges have been successful in places like the US and UK, but authorities in Berlin classify the fridges as "food establishments" because they are in public and therefore must comport with European Union regulations. It's literally a case of one bureaucracy after another thwarting innovation, charity and volunteerism in the name of protecting the public. 

The BBC notes some of the reported violations for "unhygienic conditions" included "non-packaged bread and torn packaging." Much like former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's ban on food donations to the homeless because "the city can't assess their salt, fat and fiber content," this is a case of the perfect being the enemy of the good, with the government essentially saying it's better to allow the needy to pick through garbage cans than for private citizens to take the creative initiative to help one another.

Foodsharing enthusiasts have launched a petition, and some of the more than 16,000 signatories have taken to the group's Facebook page to mock this instance of "typical German regulation mania." The BBC excerpted some of the more choice comments:

"God, if only the authorities knew how the fridge in our flatshare looks!" another writes, prompting another to reply: "Shhh. Keep quiet—you'll give them ideas and they start inspecting it."

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