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RememberSchiff

Scouting for Food - checking expiration dates?

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Our units collect donations from folks who just made purchases in the grocery store, so no. The food bank volunteers do check before distributing. From what I've seen, the larder is drawn down to bare shelves between collection times, so it's hard to imagine any of the canned goods reaching their sell-by date.

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We do the same thing as quazse's unit. I think the council abandoned the door-to-door approach for a variety of reasons including this.

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Nope. It's my understanding that expiration doesn't mean unhealthy for anything the food bank will accept.

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45 minutes ago, MattR said:

Nope. It's my understanding that expiration doesn't mean unhealthy for anything the food bank will accept.

At our local food banks they cull anything that is beyond expiration without exception. It must be a standard that is applied differently other places. 

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We sort through the donations our troop collects for SfF before we deliver it to the food bank. We separate out all the expired items, and we also sort it all into boxes by food type (all the canned peas in one box, all the creamed corn in another, etc.) The food bank we work with says they cannot distribute anything to people with an expiration past today. If the expiration date is 30 days past, they said they can set it out for anyone to take, but they cannot legally distribute it (so if we were doing it today, October 22, they could not set out anything for people to pick through with an expiration past November 22). It's my understanding that all the food banks in our area operate the same way with respect to expiration dates.

We still do door-to-door pickups in our town, and unfortunately it seems to often be an excuse for people to just empty their pantries, even though we put on the flyers in big bold letters, "UNEXPIRED". Most years, anywhere from 25-33% of what we collect cannot go to the food bank because it's expired.

Our Scouts have an unofficial contest every year to see who can find the oldest expired item in what we've collected. We've had some items with expiration dates that were 15-20 years old. We've gotten canned items with grocery store price stickers still on them from grocery stores that closed years ago.

We've been finding out--and noting it on the flyers we distribute--that the food banks would much better prefer to receive cash donations in lieu of actual food donations. That has worked out well, and we continue to get more and more every year in monetary donations. The food banks will tell you that they then don't have to worry about expiration dates, the quality of the items donated (they can only use so many boxes of mac-and-cheese), and with their buying power they can stretch those dollars very well and get a lot of what is really needed for the needy.

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We have had similar issues with door to door donors cleaning out old food. We had a smaller but still significant amount of very expired canned goods. I don't understand what goes through people's heads. I think that cash donations would be good for us to add to our flyers as well.

 

 

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