Yesterday the 24-hour news cycle erupted with reports that under a new proposal by Keep South Australia Beautiful (KESAB), the humble schnitty could be subject to size regulations.

Understandably, uproar ensued over what looked to be a nanny state scheme to control our ability to gorge ourselves at the local’s weekly schnitzel night.

But as with all stories designed to fuel our outrage, there’s a little more to it than that. So how did the classic counter meal become the poster child for our excessive eating habits?

KESAB, a not-for-profit organisation, is in the early stages of a trial that aims to reduce waste and the resultant carbon emissions. The agency’s chief executive, John Phillips, went on air yesterday to discuss the project when the conversation quickly devolved into what he’s dubbed “Schnitzel-gate.”

One of the solutions raised by Phillips was reducing excessive food portions in the state’s pubs and restaurants, which he says generates significant waste.

According to Phillips, this is just one solution, along with recycling and waste collection. “It’s a very broad picture and portion sizes is not at all what we’re focusing on,” he explains. “It may or may not come up. We’re still putting the framework together. It’s not the sticking point.”

Phillips is quick to assert that KESAB isn’t interested in creating change unless the community is involved. “In Australia there’s about four million tonnes of food waste a year ... we’re not about trying to make it difficult. We’re about sustainability education,” he says.

“This is a very significant issue and the community has got to be part of the solution. The complexities behind how we might put together a framework for this program are still being worked through.”

It seems though, that waste reduction and large portion sizes are not mutually exclusive. The Coopers Ale House, a venue famous for its 600g schnitty servings, has managed to achieve both.

“We offer two sizes already, a small and a large, and we offer takeaway containers for customers,” general manager Nick Sando explains. “We also organically recycle any food waste. None of our food scraps go to land fill.”

If more venues take The Coopers’ lead, then perhaps you can continue to safely super-size your schnitty.