The streets ran with frosting Monday night when a semi tipped over on the 1-5 outside Tigard, scattering thousands of cases of Little Debbie snacks across the freeway.
The driver was speeding and was uninjured, but the real tragedy happened after the crash: just as I was calculating how many boxes of cream-filled, sugar-coated snackies I could carry, I learned, to my horror, that every last Oatmeal Cream Pie and Swiss Roll was summarily sent to the dumpster — even those in still-sealed boxes!
Did this deliciously preserved sugar food really need to go to waste?
Christine Miles, Oregon Department Of Transportation: Ms. Miles, what is your understanding of how this very nutritious food ended up in the dumpster?
Response: “ODOT’s responsibility is to clear the freeway. It’s the company’s responsibility to decide what happens to the product after it comes out of the trailer.”
Simple as that. Right?
Mike Gloekler of Little Debbie producer McKee Food Corp: So, Mr. Gloekler, why did your company throw away thousands of delicious snack cakes?
Response: …Something about chain of custody…something about purity… something about ODOT’s decision “to get the road cleared as quickly as possible meant that people not contracted by McKee foods handled the food. We couldn’t guarantee it was pure.”
Hyper-processed and preserved food wrapped in plastic, packaged in a box, with other boxes in a bigger box, many of which remained sealed, and they’re worried about contamination? Really?
So why couldn’t food banks still take the sealed snacks? Jean Kempe-Ware at the Oregon Food Bank simply said, “By the time we got there, it was already in the dumpster.”
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!