Error message

Image resize threshold of 10 remote images has been reached. Please use fewer remote images.

Planting for the local food bank? Take care to do it right

Planting for the local food bank? Take care to do it right

This time of year people who enjoy gardening are thinking about and planning what they will be growing this spring, summer and fall. I know this because I am one of those who has already purchased some of my seeds, and planting time is still a ways off yet. Many gardeners like to donate to food pantries.

If you are one of those generous gardeners, Michigan State University Extension has eight tips to help you provide high-quality produce to food banks and pantries.

It is important to check with the food bank or pantry before delivering any produce. Find out if they accept produce at their site and if they do, ask if they need the type of produce you have to donate.

Always handle the fresh fruits and vegetables safely to minimize the risk of foodborne illness. For example, don’t harvest when you are sick and always wash your hands before harvesting

Offer only high quality, freshly picked fruits and vegetables.

Do not donate fruits and vegetables that are overripe, have mold, bruising, spoilage or insect damage.

If you use pesticides in your garden, always read and follow the label instructions.

Harvest produce early in the morning.

Wipe as much mud and dirt as possible off of the produce but do not rinse the produce. Rinsing the produce takes off some of the natural protective coating and will cause the produce to spoil sooner than if it wasn’t rinsed.

Do not mix different kinds of produce. For example, don’t put cucumbers in the same clean, food grade container as green beans.

Those who donate food to food banks and pantries are protected by the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act that was signed into law in 1996 by President Bill Clinton. This federal act protects those who donate produce from their garden, and those who donate grocery products, to nonprofit organizations for distribution to people in need, from criminal and civil liability.

Under terms of this Act, donors are protected, if the products were donated in good faith but later caused harm to the recipient. It also standardizes donor liability exposure and sets a floor of gross negligence or intentional misconduct for people who donate grocery products.

If you will be donating produce this year from your garden, thank you for providing safe, nutritious food to those who might otherwise go without.

This article by Jeannie Nichols was originally published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu. To contact an expert in your area, visit http://expert.msue.msu.edu, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

© Food Safety News

Log in or register to post comments

Posts nearby

Location: Hanson Beeyard, Fort Lupton, Colorado Featuring: Larry, Craig, Gary, and Brian Since 2005 many bee colonies around the globe have mysteriously disappeared. Everything from cellphone... Read more
By The Producer, Feb 28
Featuring: Bill and Nicolette Niman Location: BN Ranch, Marin, CaliforniaThe Niman’s secret for “antibiotic-free” beef production is simple: fresh air, sunshine, and exercise make for healthy... Read more
By Douglas Gayeton, May 19
2 followers
Location: The Honey House, Ballard Bee Company, Seattle, Washington Featuring: Corky Luster Corky says: “Honey around the entractor, honey on the door, honey on my left boot that is now on the... Read more
By The Producer, May 20