Can You Donate Expired Food?
Published February 09, 2023
Yes, you can donate expired food. Some organizations accept food donations that are past their expiration date. However, we strongly recommend against it.
Why You Shouldn’t Donate Expired Food
Here are some of the reasons why we strongly discourage donating expired foods:
1. It’s a public health risk
Most organizations that accept food donations typically cater to the poor and homeless. So the foods you donate will most likely end up on the plates of the people who are trying their very best to survive every single day.
Now, we all know the risks of eating expired foods. At best, it can give you a bad case of diarrhea. At worst, it can be fatal.
So if you’re donating expired foods, you’re not only exposing all those innocent people to various health risks. You’re endangering their lives too.
2. It’s demeaning
Imagine being homeless and hungry. Then you receive food from somebody, only to find out that it has already expired. What would you feel?
If you felt insulted and degraded, then you’re right on the money. They might be at the lowest point in their life right now, but that doesn’t mean they deserve to eat expired foods.
By doing this, you’re not only making them feel less of a human. You’re also robbing them of whatever dignity and self-respect they have left.
3. Expired foods lose their nutritional value
Food does not just satiate our hunger. It provides us with the nutrients our body needs too.
But aside from becoming a magnet to germs and bacteria, foods also lose their nutritional value when they expire. So even if the expired foods you’ve donated don’t cause any harm healthwise, they’re still less suitable for consumption.
4. It can lead to legal consequences
In some states, food donations are subject to food safety regulations. Even if the Good Samaritan Act provides liability protection for food donors, there can still be legal consequences. This is especially true if you donate expired foods despite knowing that they will most likely cause harm to the recipients.
5. It will most likely just go to waste.
For good reasons, most charitable organizations do not accept expired food donations. And even if your donation managed to get past their initial screening, they still won’t distribute them to their beneficiaries. In short, your donation will most likely just go to waste.
What Foods Should You Donate?
Most charitable institutions accept non-perishable foods that are shelf-stable and won’t easily go bad. So rather than expired foods, you’ll be helping them more if you donate these foods instead:
- canned fruit
- canned vegetables
- tinned soup
- canned beans
- canned meat/fish
- canned milk
- peanut butter
- granola bars
- bottled water
Food Items You Can’t Donate
Aside from expired foods, most charities also don’t accept foods that are highly perishable or are not properly packaged, such as:
- foods in glass jars
- fresh milk
- fresh vegetables
- fresh meat
- sugar-rich foods and junk foods (these may only worsen the health issues of some people)
- frozen goods
- homemade foods
- foods with partially-opened packages
What Can You Do With Expired Food?
If you feel bad about throwing away expired foods, here are some ways you can make use of them:
- Turn them into fertilizer. Throw them in a compost pit, and after a few days, you’ll get your very own organic fertilizer.
- Add them to your beauty products. Some food products like coffee and greek yogurt make a great addition to your beauty regimen.
- Repurpose the cans. There are many ways to repurpose empty cans. You can upcycle them as house decors, use them as planters, or even turn them into a portable camping stove.
To Wrap It Up
The next time you’re cleaning out your cupboards and come across some expired food, think twice before donating it. While it may seem like a waste to throw away perfectly good food, it’s actually doing more harm than good.
By understanding what foods can and can’t be donated, as well as how to properly dispose of expired foods, you can help make a difference in the lives of those in need.
So before you donate your next bag of donations, take a moment to double-check that everything inside is still fresh and edible. And if not, there are plenty of other ways to give back. With so many options available, there’s no excuse not to donate today!
Donate To The Poor & Homeless Of South Florida
Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen has fed the poor and homeless in South Florida over 900,000 hot meals since 1993. Our tax deductible non profit organization also accepts and distributes donations such as clothing, toiletries, shoes, bicycles, and more. You can donate to help the poor and homeless through our website.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a professional writer and devoted Christian. She has a passion for writing about topics related to morality and helping the poor and homeless. She is the lead author for the Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen blog.
Correct Digital, Inc is paid by private donors to provide website digital marketing services to this non-profit organization.