Put Safe Food on the Shelf


…expiration dates really puts a time limit on. It’s like hurry, hurry, hurry, I gotta make this. And then when I do make it, is it even going to be good? As it’s cooking: Is it going to sour everything else? – Food pantry client




Establish a Food Safety Policy

A food safety policy can be used to guide decision making and ensure that the foods you are distributing are both safe and of high quality. A food safety policy is a statement of your commitment to procure and distribute foods that meet certain standards for safety and quality. A food safety policy can make it easier to communicate the standards you have set to donors, partner organizations, and your clients. Adopting a food safety policy is the best way to communicate to your guests, members of your organization, and partners that you are dedicated to food safety.


Sample food safety policy language


Educate your Donors

You can help ensure safe food on the shelf by providing donors with guidelines for donating safe, high quality foods. Whether a large multinational food company, a local retailer, or a concerned citizen, everyone will feel better about their food donation if they know that the food will be safe for you to distribute to those in need.


Donated food checklist for safety & quality
10 most unwanted donations list
Make your donation count
Sample press release

Accept Safe Produce

There are several tips that can help ensure that you offer safe produce to those you serve:

  • For fresh-from-the farm fruits and vegetables, get to know the growers that will supply your food pantry. Encourage them to use Good Agricultural Practices in growing their crops.
  • Set standards for produce gleaned from farmers’ markets or local retailers.
  • Carefully inspect fresh produce at the time of donation and do not accept visibly rotten or spoiled produce.
  • Monitor produce carefully while it’s in your inventory and discard anything that becomes visibly rotten or spoiled.
  • Store fresh fruits and vegetables in a cool area and away from direct sunlight.
  • Fresh-cut produce (produce that is peeled, sliced, or cut) should always be kept cold (40°F or below).

Tools_Green  Develop a fresh produce policy