New app lets you swap leftovers with strangers

IF YOU can't get through all your leftover lasagne or there's way too much vindaloo in your doggy bag a new free app lets you swap your extras with strangers in your local area.

Leftover Swap is an ingenious or cringey idea, depending on how you look at it, explains the app co-creator, Dan Newman.

"It's obviously not for everybody," Newman told technology website, npr.

"But for as many people who seemingly have a problem with it, there's people who love the idea."

The gist is this: Let's say you have some leftover slices of pepperoni pizza. You take a photograph of it and post to the app's database.

"Strangers in the same geographic area have the option of trading food with you, or just taking it off your hands.

To "leftover givers" the website says: "You're stuffed. You can't take another bite, but there's so much left on your plate."

And to takers: "You're hungry. And cheap. We understand."

The founders don't plan on making any money from what began as a joke, but hope the app addresses some environmental concerns about waste.

"There's a bunch of studies about how much more food we need to produce for the world population by 2050, and how fertilizers are less effective and our current rate of producing food isn't going to suffice," Newman said.

However, there are clearly potential health hazards.

Leftovers are one of the main causes of food poisoning, even when people stick to their own second-day dinners.

Hand-me-downs from strangers are even more dangerous, said health officials from San Francisco, the home city of the app.

"There would be no way for officials to trace the source - they wouldn't know who originally produced the food and under what conditions.

"Even if it came from the cleanest, best-inspected restaurant in San Francisco, it could still have been handled by some grubby hipster with no hygiene standards," officials said.

But to the haters, Newman said it's all about faith.

"People seem to have a huge lack of trust in their fellow man, thinking that leftovers would be diseased somehow. It goes back to the couch-surfing thing.

"You're staying at a random person's place and you have to trust they aren't going to do something weird. It's the same with leftovers."

Topics:  leftovers smartphone app

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