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In Brief

App Lets Users Swap Leftovers With Complete Strangers

leftover chinese food
Leftovers can be a big source of food poisoning if they are not stored properly. (Image credit: <a href="">Alan49</a> | <a href=""></a>)

For those who feel like their own leftovers aren't temptation enough, there's a new, completely free app that lets users trade uneaten food with strangers in their area.

Leftover Swap allows users to snap a photo of that half-eaten takeout and trade it for someone else's partially nibbled Chicken Tikka Masala. Yum!

The potential health risks associated with such unfettered food sharing are myriad. Leftovers are one of the main sources of food poisoning — even when people stick to their own second-day dinners. Gustatory hand-me-downs from strangers are even more dangerous.

"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," San Francisco health department environmental regulatory program director Richard Lee told SF Weekly when the app first surfaced in July.

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Tia Ghose
Tia has interned at Science News,, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and has written for the Center for Investigative Reporting, Scientific American, and ScienceNow. She has a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California Santa Cruz.