Why you can still donate food past its ‘best by’ date

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Just because food has passed the date on the box, doesn't mean you should throw it away.  It's a concept that leadership at the River Bend Foodbank is trying to get the Quad Cities community on board with.

Related: Wintry weather forces River Bend Foodbank to cancel food distribution event

River Bend CEO Mike Miller told WQAD News 8 that one in eight people don't have enough food.   He said there's enough to go around, but it's just being thrown away.

"Wherever you're shopping for groceries ask them what they do with dented cans, with food that hits that day on the package, because food does not expire, so we don't call it that," Miller said. "We call it the "Donate Date.""

According to the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service, there is no federal regulation on product dating, except for infant formula.  For all other foods, "best by" dates are voluntarily applied and "are not an indicator of the product's safety..."

The FSIS said even if a "best by" date passes it doesn't mean the product has gone bad.  Miller explains those dates as "a freshness date" set by manufacturers.

"A product should still be safe and wholesome if handled properly until the time spoilage is evident," said the website. 

The FSIS advises that food can still be donated after the freshness date has passed.

Click here to learn how you can donate unwanted food to the River Bend Foodbank.