Monday, November 27, 2023

Can Food Banks Give Out Expired Food

Must read

Lesson : Know What You Are Comfortable With

Why food banks prefer cash over cans

Working at the Food Bank is physically demanding. While there are different areas and stations for people of different ability levels, there is no getting around some amount of lifting. They do need people to sit and re-tape boxes and such but those are few and far between. Im sore. Really sore after 3 days.

Lesson : Think About Going With Them

I am not going to lie, the first day when we pulled up and saw a large teen group escorted by 3 sheriffs I was a little worried. The next day the sheriffs were escorting a group of adults. There is a large diversity among the people who volunteer. Obviously one of the reasons to volunteer with your kids is to expose them to different views of the world. We had a great experience working with all of the volunteers here.

How Your Money Is Used

Giving to AzFBN is effective!

Because we work with economies of scale your financial gifts to AzFBN go a long way. Because we deal with semi tractor-trailer loads of food, a little goes a long way! Of course your donations support hunger fighting programs, too, as we work toward a vision of a hunger free Arizona.

Recommended Reading: Houston Food Bank Volunteer Age

Is It Better To Donate Food Or Money To Food Bank

First, monetary donations are far more effective than material ones. Your instinct during a crisis, like a wildfire or a pandemic, might be to donate goods, like blankets, canned food or toothbrushes. Another reason cash is better is because donated goods require a lot of staff and volunteers to manage.

Table : Who Is Covered Under The Good Samaritan Act For Food Donations

3 simple ways to reduce small business food waste


The acts definition of person expressly covers donations by caterers.

Food trucks

Donations by a food truck would be covered under the broad definition of person, which includes corporations, partnerships, organizations, and associations.

School food authorities and institutions of higher education

Yes, these entities are expressly included in the definition of qualified direct donors in the Emergency Food Assistance

Act of 1983, as amended by the 2018 Farm Bill.

Food banks

The act expressly covers donations by nonprofit food distributors.

Kitchens that create meals from donated food and then sell the meals at extremely low prices in underserved neighborhoods

No, for a donation to be covered by the act, the ultimate recipients of the food or grocery items must not be required to give anything of value.

All fifty states and the District of Columbia have additional food donation statues that limit food donors liabilitythese currently vary widely, such as by who , and what foods and food products are covered. The Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel has interpreted the Act as preempting state laws that provide less liability protection to donors. In simple language, this means that under the DOJs interpretation, state laws may provide greater protection against liability, but not less. The Good Samaritan Act serves as a floor or minimum bar for states food donation statutes.

Read more USDA blogs on the topic of food waste.

Read Also: Corpus Christi Food Bank Donation

Foods Suitable For Donation

Home-Prepared Foods

DONATED FOOD DISTRIBUTING ORGANIZATIONS are not allowed to accept or serve most types of homeprepared foods. However, homemade baked goods that do not need refrigeration to remain safe may be received from DONORS.

Commercially Packaged Foods Not Needing Refrigeration

The donation of commercially canned, boxed, and otherwise packaged foods is encouraged.

Fresh Produce Donations

Food donations may include fresh produce, including home-grown fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce should be protected from contamination and receive final preparation, such as washing and cutting, in a DONOR KITCHEN or licensed kitchen.

Food Prepared in a DONOR KITCHEN

Except for baked goods , DONATED FOOD DISTRIBUTING ORGANIZATIONS may not accept foods prepared in a home kitchen. Instead, foods for donation should be prepared in either a DONOR KITCHEN or a commercial food establishment, such as a restaurant.

A DONOR KITCHEN is a publicly available kitchen in a faith-based organization, community center, or other site. The DONOR KITCHEN does not need to have a health permit, but must have basic facilities such as adequate handwashing, dishwashing, refrigeration, and cooking equipment. It must have a safe water supply, be protected from weather and animals, and be cleaned before food preparation starts.

Uninspected Meat Donations
Food Donation by Licensed Food Establishments
Food Donation by Food Processors
Distressed Foods

Foods Most Needed At Food Banks

Take a look at the following list of the most needed food items at food banks all across the country. Then take a look at the excess in your cupboards, whatever the best before date, and see if there is a donation just waiting to happen.

  • Canned tuna, chicken or salmon
  • Low-sodium canned vegetables
  • Canned fruit in its own juice or water
  • Olive or canola oil
  • Canned foods with pop-top lids
  • Low-sugar whole grain cereals
  • Each and every item on the most wanted list has an EatByDate that is far beyond its best before date. Many of these items can last years beyond any date printed anywhere on them. Someone should make use of these items!

    The food waste problem needs help from every angle. So, if this is where you can pitch in, then find the nearest food bank and donate whatever youve got. They will take it . Use the pages of EatByDate to find out if foods have actually gone bad before donating. After all, thats what the food banks do.

    Recommended Reading: San Antonio Food Bank Register

    How Do You Dispose Of Out Of Date Canned Food

    Thoroughly rinse the can in your sink and recycle the can at your local recycling centre. Take out the trash bag as soon as possible if the contents are in a trash bag, If the contents are in your sinks garbage disposal, turn the water and disposal on until all of the contents are flushed out of the disposal.

    Date Marking: What Does It Mean For A Food Pantry

    How Long Does Canned Food Last? PREPPER PANTRY Expired Food.

    Clarifying product dating for food bank and food pantry volunteers and staff.

    Food banks and food pantries receive and store millions of pounds of donated food and grocery products. They receive donations from a wide variety of food manufacturers, growers and consumers. Product dating or date marking on donated food products can be very confusing to volunteers and staff of food pantries.

    Best by, best if used by, sell by, manufacturers closed dating, and expiration dates are all terms that can cause concern for the volunteer at a food pantry.

    According to the United States Department of Agriculture, open dating or date marking is a date on the calendar chosen by the manufacturer or retailer for food products. The date gives consumers an estimate of how long food such as dairy, egg, meat and poultry will be at best food quality. The date tells the retail store how long to display the food product. The manufacturers closed dating is on shelf-stable cans and boxes of food. The codes of letters and numbers provide information on the manufacture date and time and is useful for food banks and food pantries when the product is recalled.

    Many times, food pantries receive donated baby formula and baby food, but be aware that according to the United States Food and Drug Administration, infant formula is the only food product required by regulations to have a use by date. Michigan State University Extension recommends expired baby formula be thrown away after this date.

    Don’t Miss: Food Bank Volunteer Charlotte Nc

    Tackling The Problem Of Food Waste

    With the gradual shift toward conscious, sustainable treatment of food in our society, reducing food waste has become a focal point for legislators, scholars, and advocates alike. Its a shame that so much food goes to waste when so many are hungry, but the Maryland Food Bank has built fighting this problem into the way we work. Find out how we make the best of an inefficient food system.

    When most people hear about the Maryland Food Bank, they associate us with hunger, food drives, and soup kitchens. What many dont realize is that minimizing food waste is inextricably woven into our operationsand our mission to end hunger.

    At the core of our infrastructure, the Maryland Food Bank collects and distributes food. Food drives and donations are the most public way that we receive food, but behind the scenes, the food bank has an even larger source of food, called salvage.

    When retail food is no longer salable but still safe for consumption by FDA standards, it can be donated to food banks as salvage. Over 35 years, the Maryland Food Bank has developed an extensive web of food retailers and wholesalers and salvaged millions upon millions of pounds of nutritious, high-quality foods that would have otherwise gone to wasteand distributed them to hungry households all across the state.

    If it sounds like a win-win, thats because it is.

    Why Cant Grocery Stores Donate Food

    Many grocery stores and restaurants dont give away their unused food because they are afraid of being liable if someone gets sick from their donated food. Actually, The Ontario Donation of Food Act protects all companies from any liability when donating food in good will, the US has a similar food act.

    Read Also: Food Bank Free Tax Preparation 2021

    What Items Do Food Banks Not Accept

    Never send any infant formula or adult nourishment that has passed the best before date on the packaging. There is no way they can accept these since they are not permitted to disseminate them. Below is a list of items food banks do not accept:

    • Cans that have been dented
    • Jars of glass food
    • Foods that are sold in bulk
    • Expired foodstuffs

    There are several goods that food banks would prefer not to deal with, regardless of whether they are expired. Because counties often manage food banks, its a good idea to check their website for any suspicious products before going through with the transaction.

    Support Food Banks Across Arizona Through Azfbn

    Holiday Food Drive for Local Food Pantries

    For grants, endowments, fundraisers, stock & investment gifts, United Way, and including AzFBN in your will, please contact Terri Shoemaker or call 602-528-3434.

    Want to show your support of hunger relief every time you hit the road? Consider getting a Hunger Relief License Plate! Proceeds benefit AzFBN, and youll be ending hunger one plate at a time! Visit Service Arizonafor more information.

    Also Check: Food Bank Of New Jersey

    Lesson : Variety Is Nice When You Donate Food To Food Bank

    Real treasures found among the donated food

    On Day 2 I packed boxes for individuals. These are 40 lbs boxes donated directly to people in need. Knowing these mostly go to households, volunteers try to pack a variety of foods in the boxes. Its hard to make a variety out of ramen noodles and creamed corn! Volunteers would search through boxes and boxes to put together things that made sense-pasta with pasta sauce and so on. Finding canned proteins, like tuna and chicken was a nice surprise and something divided up carefully. When donating, be a little creative.

    Lesson : Companies Donate A Lot Of Soda And Junk Food

    Soda donation at food bank of the rockies. Photo Credit to Kia Ru

    On a trip here last year with some bloggers we saw pallets and pallets of Sun Drop soda. All of us were taken aback. Apparently, that is par for the course. During my volunteer time I processed more 2 liters of various types of pop than I knew existed. Coming in a close second were Pop Tarts. I am certainly not a health food fanatic but I think everyone agrees that they wouldnt want to open a food box full of only that to feed their family. I wouldnt.

    Also Check: Food Bank Of North Alabama

    Dented Or Damaged Items

    Dented, rusted, or damaged packaging means that the food inside might be spoiled, notes Delish. Make sure to examine packaging for signs of damage before you drop your food donation items off.

    “Food safety is a top priority at the Feeding America network of 200 food banks. Dented or damaged cans could be spoiled or contain harmful bacteria. Any cans that are badly dented, leaking, bulging, or rusted should be thrown out,” suggests Villarreal.

    Safe Food Handling Practices

    Is expired non-perishable food still good to donate?

    Although training is not a requirement for preparing food donations, food safety classes explain the food safety precautions required with feeding large groups. Many local health agencies, WSU Cooperative Extension offices, and food industry associations give short classes on food safety.


    A knowledgeable group leader with food safety training and a Washington State Food Worker Card, if possible, should be selected to organize the food preparation efforts. Children under 10 years old should only handle wrapped foods, raw produce, and raw dry food staples to limit the potential for food safety errors. Food workers who are ill should not handle or prepare food.


    Proper handwashing facilities and supplies must be convenient for all food handlers.

    All food handlers should wash their hands before beginning work, and after:

    • Going to the restroom.
    • Coughing or sneezing into their hands.
    • Handling raw meat.
    • Hands become dirty.
    Preventing Bare Hand Contact

    To prevent the spread of germs, it is important to keep bare hands from touching foods that will not be cooked or washed before being eaten. Utensils or gloves can be used to prevent bare hand contact. Utensils need to be cleaned and sanitized between uses.

    Food Storage
    Food Transportation
    Potentially Hazardous Foods

    Certain foods, called potentially hazardous foods, let bacteria grow quickly. It is important to keep these foods at safe temperatures to prevent bacteria from growing.

    Cooking Temperatures

    Read Also: Food Banks Little Rock Arkansas

    Are Out Of Date Tins Ok

    The expiry date of canned foods usually indicates three years from when its been shelved, but you can consume them past the date for up to four more years. Make sure to keep your canned goods in a cool, dry spot thoughand if there are any dents, rust or leaking, thats when its time to ditch the goods.

    What Comes In A Food Pantry Box

    An emergency food box that can sustain a family of four for up to five days is included in each food pantry box.

    Included in a typical package are the following items:

    • Apple juice in a 1-liter bottle and five cans of fruit
    • Cans of maize and peas are among the five vegetables provided.
    • Six cans of tuna and a jar of peanut butter
    • 3.2 ounces of dairy Milk with a 1% fat content
    • Penne pasta, white rice, and multigrain cereal are all included in the three bags of grains.

    In-house nutritionists work hard to ensure that each weeks containers are filled with nutritious, balanced meals that adhere to dietary requirements. The boxes come between 19 and 20 pounds, and the cost of a food box is around $20.

    You May Like: Saint Mary’s Food Bank Phoenix

    Lesson : Companies Donate A Lot Of Frozen Food

    Donated Meat Re-Purposed for Zoo Animals

    I was pretty discouraged Day 1 at all the packaged and processed food donated. But on Day 3 we processed a large amount of frozen food from places like Sams Club. I was pleased to see all the meat, cheese and some freezable dairy. What I was really bothered by is that the meat that is deemed not fit for human consumption is sent to the Zoo. I am guessing this is where the open grain bags go as well. In talking with people about this I guess it isnt an issue for wild animals and the zoo knows how to process it safely for them. I dont know though, I wouldnt feed my dog meat I wouldnt eat so this sat funny with me.

    Foods To Avoid Donating

    Did you know that most canned goods are perfectly fine to eat for over ...

    Do not send any baby formula or adult nutrition that is past its best before date. They will not take these because they are not allowed to redistribute these.

    There are some items that food banks would rather not deal with, expired or not. Items to avoid sending food banks include anything packed in glass, candy, and sugary drinks. This list could vary by food bank or food donation station, but many places do avoid these items so keep that in mind.

    Since food banks are usually run by county, its a good idea to check their website for questionable items before proceeding.

    Don’t Miss: Second Harvest Food Bank Of East Tennessee

    Can I Donate Expired Food Or Perishable Food

    At SPAN we do not distribute foods that are past their expiration dates. However, if we receive expired donations, we don’t let them go to waste. We have several local partners to whom we can donate.

    Food dating is confusing because the US has no standard system for it. Only 20 states require dates on some perishable foods such as meat and dairy. The one exception is infant formulas, which require an expiration date due to the deterioration of nutrients over time.

    Manufacturers often place a “use by” or “best if used by” date on their items to help consumers get the best quality, but these foods will almost certainly still be good beyond this date. A sell by date tells a retailer when to pull an item from the shelves.

    According to the USDA, high-acid canned goods, like tomatoes and citrus, will keep for up to 18 months. Low-acid canned goods – pretty much everything else – will last for up to five years. Canned foods are sterile, so they wont host bacteria, but eventually the taste and texture will deteriorate. Keep them at room temperature in a dark place. Toss any cans that are bulging or leaking, or that spurt liquid when opened. Although the toxin that causes botulism is extremely rare in commercial canned goods, damaged cans have a higher chance of being contaminated.

    Was this helpful?

    More articles

    Latest article