Expiration dates force food pantries to throw out donated food - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Expiration dates force food pantries to throw out donated food

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MARSHFIELD (WAOW)- The Marshfield community donated thousands of pounds of food to a local food drive last month.

Now, a month later, pantries have found that more than 40 percent of the donations are unusable.

"I usually look through my own food and see what I have available," said community member Kaitlin Kolano.

A common answer from people donating to food pantries.

While no one is ever discouraged from donating, expired food is now playing a large role in food pantry costs.

Last month the annual Letter Carrier Food Drive in Marshfield brought in more than 16,000 pounds of food.

After examining the donations, hundreds of pounds had to be thrown out because the expiration date was older than 2013.

"If you're not going to eat something, someone else won't either," said Paula Jero, Marshfield Area United Way Executive Director.

Food products all have a recommended date for when they should be sold. Experts say after that date, the food loses nutritional value. Getting rid of large amounts of food because it is older has ended up costing food pantries.

"When you are dealing with 2100 lbs of food it's not an easy disposal, there's a cost for dumpsters and things like that that have to be dealt with," said Jero.

Marshfield's next scheduled food drive is more than four months away. Some food pantries are low on supplies already.

"I was at the food pantry a couple of weeks ago and it was the emptiest I've ever seen it," said Jero.

To donate food to local food pantries, people should follow these steps:

1. Call your local food pantry to see if they are in need of more food.

2. Ask what foods they are low on.

3. Check expiration dates on the food you wish to donate


    

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