Tag Archives: food donation

Overcoming Roadblocks to Food Donations

Last week, we talked about steps that can help your kitchen achieve zero food waste through planning and optimization. But what about the 96 billion pounds of food waste that we create but do not serve? Today, we will look at what your kitchen can do with that prepared food waste that remains at the end of your day.

Roadblocks to Donation

You may have already thought about donating your surplus or unused prepared food to a local food bank or other charity – but thought it was too difficult, risky or cost effective. With the help of some non-profit organizations, whose intent is to simplify the process, and a law specifically written to protect your good intentions, there are now fewer reasons not to turn your excess waste into a positive for your community.

Donation Process Infographic from FDC

Steps to donation outlined on http://foodtodonate.com

Creating a program is not as difficult and time-consuming as one would think. There are organizations that exist to help. One is the Food Donation Connection based out of Knoxville, TN. Through their website, foodtodonate.com, potential donors can find local organizations in need and helps facilitate the ongoing communication to ensure all benefit from the exchange. They can also help coordinate the tracking and transportation through pick-up agencies. The FDC receives no federal money, but funds itself through the food donors who pay a small percentage of the tax benefits received through the donation process.

According to 2013 numbers, the FDC helped 14,592 foodservice locations donate 36 million pounds of food to 7908 hunger relief organizations. Many large chains are involved in the program, including Yum! Brands and Darden Restaurants. Some recipients of this donated food include Feeding America, City Harvest (NYC), The Salvation Army and Boy & Girls Clubs

Legal Liabilities

Another common roadblock is the potential liability of donating food. Where does the food safety liability lie once it leaves a restaurant’s care? In 1996, the Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act was signed into law to clear this legal point and encourage more donations. The bill protects the donor and the recipient agencies in most cases outside of gross negligence or intentional misconduct. With the national law enacted, all donors in the U.S. have the same language that protects them from civil or criminal liability.

Covered food includes products that “meet all quality and labeling standards imposed by federal, state and local laws and regulations even though the food may not be readily marketable due to appearance, age, freshness, grade, size, surplus or other conditions.”

Benefits to Donation

Aside from the pride a business can take in helping the nearly 30 million Americans at risk of hunger, and the goodwill created by letting your customers know you support your community, there are fiscal benefits as well.

Many businesses can benefit from tax breaks linked to their charitable food donations. The FDC explains several laws that may be used come tax time. Most are based on the fair market value of the donated food. You should always talk with your Attorney or Tax consultant, but the largest benefit of food donation is helping to divert your portion of the 96 billion pounds of food waste currently being sent to our local landfills. By overcoming some of these large roadblocks, there is little reason not to do your part.

Helpful tools from Central

Whether you decide to donate through a facilitation organization like the FDC, or work personally with a local organization, you’ll probably need to invest some additional food pans, and storage or transportation containers. The FDC uses Cambro Camwear and Camcarrier products that Central carries everyday at competitive prices.

Cocktails; mage from MorgueFile

Central’s Week in Brief: May 13, 2011

Every Friday Central brings you stories from the week that you might have missed, but that are definitely worth a look. We’ll feature food news covering everything from the weird to the wonderful in the world of restaurants, schools, the military and more.  It’s our way to help you go into the weekend with a little extra knowledge and maybe even a project or recipe to try out!

Image from MorgueFile1)  Ever think that there just aren’t enough ways to enjoy a cocktail?  Well the answer is now here with gin paper created by executive sous chef Ryan Moore.   The paper is made with a heated mix of cellulose and gin and can be folded, written on and eaten.  Tequila, absinthe and other versions are now in the works.

2)  Speaking of new ways to experience food and drink, how about a new version of the turkey burger?  If you watch the NBC show “Parks and Recreation” you’ll know that a few weeks ago character Ron Swanson (played by Nick Offerman) suggested that a turkey burger was actually made of a fried turkey leg inside a grilled burger.  This single idea has actually inspired Eater.com to create the concoction and even an appearance for Offerman on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to try out the new mega-burger.

3)  Every year the U.S. Postal Service has a food drive called Stamp Out Hunger.  This year’s drive is tomorrow, Saturday, May 14th.  Just leave a bag of nonperishable food at your mailbox and your mail carrier will pick it up and the food items will be delivered to local food banks.  It is asked that you do not donate items that need refrigeration, expired items or anything in glass containers.   To get more info you can also follow Stamp Out Hunger on Twitter and Facebook.

4)   This week (May 8th-14th) is the 14th annual Food Allergy Awareness Week.   The purpose of this week is to educate on food allergies and to let everyone know that this is a serious, life threatening condition.   The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network has a ton of great downloadable information to teach everyone from elementary age children to your fellow co-worker about just how serious food allergies can be.  Central has also written blogs in our Living with Dietary Restrictions series on Gluten and Dairy allergies.

5)   With all the irrational fears that come along with Friday the 13th  (aka Friggatriskaidekaphobia or Paraskevidekatriaphobia), we’d like to add a few more that are more food related than Jason Voorhees based.  For instance, did you know that in Greece, carrying around garlic will prevent the evil eye (or bad luck) from affecting you.  There’s also the superstition that bringing a banana on a fishing boat will cause a poor catch.  Here’s one more, did you know that you’re not supposed to pass pepper directly to someone when working in the kitchen?  This is supposed to indicate that you will have a disagreement with friends.