At the end of several affairs, we notice that there are some cakes and pastries untouched. The caterer says that by law of the health department, once a cake goes out of its box, even if it is untouched, it must be disposed.
Is it considered, then, a mitzvah to take these cakes as we know they will be disposed (avoid Bal Taschis)? Can we assume that once the cake is displayed, the owner assumes that it will be eaten, so he has relinquished "ownership" of the cake. The fact that it is untouched or even partially touched is incidental. Or do we need to assume that the owner may want all the left-over cakes, himself, in which case taking anything, would be considered stealing?