Every year, developed countries recall tens-of-thousands of tonnes of food from the market for quality or safety violations. Meanwhile, the amount of food passing through the UK’s largest surplus food redistribution has tripled in the last four years. These flows of unwanted products (hereafter ‘divested food’) are a logistical challenge throughout the food system, raising public health, environmental, ethical, and business concerns. There exist myriad diverse schemes attempting to manage these flows of divested food, often pitched as ‘win-win’ solutions that purport to resolve the environmental consequences of food waste while offering social (and economic) benefits. Examples include diverting recalled human food into the animal feed system, or corporate donations of surplus human food to food charities. We present a view of food divestment as assemblages of human and more-than-human actants that can ‘bite back’ in unanticipated ways, raising questions about the knowability of food risk, definitions of edibility, and biopolitical concerns around public health and food access. We suggest that a shift away from the language of ‘wasting’ to that of divestment and the conduits along which divested material is subsequently moved offers broader analytical insights that elucidate the vitality of divested food, providing a fuller accounting of the relations severed and created through divestment, but which are frequently elided by the conceptual externalising of so-called ‘waste’. This richer, relational picture can encourage internalising the costs of ‘win-win’ downstream management of food waste while highlighting the merits of upstream interventions into the antecedents of food waste.