How landfill meat is recycled as food for the poor
In Manila, the poorest of the poor are forced to turn to recycled landfill meat, which they wash and re-cook to fill their bellies.
MANILA, PHILIPPINES — In the Philippine capital of Manila, the poorest of the poor are forced to eat 'pagpag' — washed and re-cooked landfill meat — to relieve their hunger.
Reuters reports that the term means "to shake or dust off" in Filipino, in reference to the act of cleaning dirt off the leftover food scraps to make it edible.
When food is discarded by restaurants, it ends up at dump sites where scavengers sort through the waste for hours, picking out chicken bones and other scraps of meat. These leftovers are later separated, bagged, and then sold to families or eatery owners for a few pesos.
Those who prepare pagpag first wash or boil it in water, to get rid of the germs, before re-frying or cooking it in some type of sauce.
Eateries sell a pagpag meal for as little as 20 pesos or 38 U.S. cents a portion. For those who live hand-to-mouth, this is a day's wage, and the only thing they can afford.
Slum-dwellers who eat the recycled meal say it's delicious, and claim no one has died from eating it.
Despite warnings from health experts and the Philippine National Anti-Poverty Commission that it can cause stomach and other food-related illnesses, most say they will continue to eat it — not that they have a choice.
To them, food from the garbage is better than no food at all.
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