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Berlin's Public Refrigerators Were Just Declared a Health Hazard

They’re part of a larger German movement to reduce food waste, but inspectors recently found “unhygienic conditions.”
A food sharing supporter brings provisions found during dumpster diving to a distribution point in Berlin in 2013.
A food sharing supporter brings provisions found during dumpster diving to a distribution point in Berlin in 2013.Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

A network of German public refrigerators established to help individuals and institutions share rather than trash food leftovers has run into some trouble. Early last week, the BBC reports, Berlin city officials declared the fridges a health hazard, citing them for “unhygienic conditions, including non-packaged bread and torn packaging.” Organizers now fear that all 25 of the city’s fridges will have to close.

If the thought of taking food from a public fridge sounds creepy, bordering on dangerous, know that Berlin’s network is part of a 3-year-old project that boasts 110,000 users.