After watching the show, and seeing the inspection process, I am convinced our litigious society is the reason all this food goes to waste. The perfect example was Chef Burrell arguing with the food inspector about the pancetta. She was correct, of course, that pancetta is cured meat and does not require constant refrigeration, especially for the inside of the meat not exposed to the elements.
The issue as I see it is the fear farmers, distributors, etc., have of being sued if someone gets a bad tomato. Sure, they could donate food from their farms, or fish returned to the main distibutor, to food kitchens/pantries, but they will also be in the crosshairs of anyone looking to make a quick buck. Legal concerns prevent many altruistic endeavors from happening every day in America, sadly.