Can I donate expired food or perishable food?

A:

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 won’t 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.

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SPAN, Inc. (Serving People Across Neighborhoods)
400 Benfield Rd.
Severna Park, MD 21146

Phone: 410-647-0889
Fax: 410-647-7724
Email: spanhelps@yahoo.com
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 10:00am-2:00pm (please arrive by 1:30)