FOOD GUIDELINES

The Giving Cupboard is dedicated to providing the best product possible to you. Volunteers pre-sort all of the food products at the Giving Cupboard, but in spite of their best efforts, you may receive questionable items. Therefore, being informed about food product safety is very important. Caution: You are responsible for all the food you consume.

There are three important key dates to be aware of: sell by, best if used by, and expiration date. These are recommendations from the USDA and Feeding America.

  • “Sell by” is the last day a store can sell the item. Items such as milk, yogurt, and other dairy usually display a “sell by” date.
  • Cereals, canned items, and rice typically display a “best if used by” date. This is an approximate date to use the food for best quality. These foods are still safe to eat.
  • “Expiration date” or “Use by” date refers to the last date the item is recommended by the manufacturer to be used by for peak quality. Items displaying “expiration date” should be purchased prior to that date, but are still safe, wholesome, and good quality if properly handled and stored.

These guidelines apply to the food received by the Giving Cupboard directly from local food drives and other sources. Remember that spoilage can occur over time, even if a can is not dented. Use common sense. When in doubt, throw it out!

NOTE: A date on a canned or boxed item does not mean the food is expired. Usually, it is good three to five years after the printed date.

The Giving Cupboard does not accept or distribute:

  • cans that have swollen or bulged ends
  • cans that have dented rims or side seams
  • cans that have sharp creases anywhere, especially side or end seams
  • cans with severe damage
  • cans that display rust or show signs of leaking
  • cans that have obvious leaks or are light in weight
  • cans without labels
  • containers that have been opened
  • home cooked or home canned food items (we do not know how the food was prepared and/or stored)
  • packages/boxes that are opened or damaged.