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Is Free Food Reverse Price Gouging?

Thursday, 1 Nov 2012 | 2:20 PM ET
Photo by Adam Jeffery for CNBC.com

Politicians love to chase after merchants who raise prices in response to rising demand and falling supply during a crisis.

What about consumers who take advantage of a crises to take free food from merchants.

This just flashed across my twitter feed:

RT @marklamster RT @jodyrosen Fairway Red Hook has hundreds of cartons of perishables that they're giving away right now. #redhook

(Note: I haven't confirmed this is happening. But a similar thing happened to an ice-cream shop in my friend's neighborhood in Lower Manhattan.)

UPDATE: Bruce Bobbins of Fairway has reached out to say that the company is not giving away perishable food.

"We are disposing of food that was damaged or ruined by the hurricane. This food is perishable and was sent to the dumpsters. If there are people who are "dumpster diving" it is something we cannot control nor do we condone such activity. Moreover, when we do give food away, and we give away tons of goods each year, it is always to food banks and anti hunger campaigns."

Clearly, people could pay market prices for the perishing goods. Does the fact that they aren't mean consumers are gouging merchants? Should this be illegal?

(Read More: Is Price Gouging Reverse Looting?)

(Read More: Scenes From Hurricane Sandy)

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