Unlike most items donated to charities and non-profit organizations, food has to be donated and received carefully. Safety guidelines exist to prevent recipients from illness and to ensure the food delivers proper nutritional support. Here are ways to prepare safe foods for donation when giving to those in need this year.
All Foods Must Be Categorized
When preparing any food, you’ll need to ensure it fits certain requirements for donation, especially if you’re giving to an event, such as a donation drive for a cause. If you’re donating solid foods, they should be either raw, prepared, or processed.
Beverages or ingredients count as food donations. Charities will accept food donations if they meet these standards and are recognized as such. So, ensure you’re donating items that can be visually identified as these foods.
Temperature Is Critical for Keeping Food
Another critical aspect of food donation is temperature control. Certain foods require preservation for freshness. You will need to determine what temperatures need to be maintained. Store hot foods at temperatures no cooler than 135 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have hot food that will need cooling, it should drop from 135 degrees to 70 degrees Fahrenheit within less than two hours. The same applies to foods cooling from 70 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit within four hours to be considered safe cooling. Cold foods will need to maintain 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below indefinitely.
Follow Proper Labeling Requirements
As you prepare to deliver your goods, you must ensure the proper information goes along with them. Identifiers such as labels should carry everything the charity needs to know, such as the names of foods, to avoid confusion and potential allergy, medical, or dietary complications. You’ll also need to make the manufacturer legible if it comes packaged for referencing. The ingredients must all be listed along with the “Best By” date for freshness.
If you’re feeling inspired to give this year, make sure you know how you can prepare safe foods for donation beforehand. Doing things this way will ensure your donations are put to good use by those who need them the most.