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Safe and Healthy Food Donation Choices

March 26, 2018

The Health Unit Encourages Safe and Healthy Food Donation Choices

Household food insecurity means not having enough money to buy healthy food. The solutions to food insecurity include things like enough income, affordable housing, daycare and transportation, opportunities for safe and steady work and opportunities for an education.

Until more people have enough income to buy enough healthy food, food banks and community meal programs will continue to need our help throughout the year to refill food supplies. Food banks appreciate financial donations; however, if you choose to donate food, contact a food bank in your community to see what products they may need.

All of our community has the right to access safe food that can nourish without the risk of becoming ill whether bought from a store or received from a food bank or meal program. Food supplies for food banks come from many generous sources including the general public, retailers, manufacturers and growers. It is important to remember that food banks are governed by food safety legislation and CANNOT accept the following food products:

  • food with missing identifying labels, severely dented cans
  • foods damaged in floods or fires
  • food that has been partially consumed or has signs of spoilage or contamination
  • home canned food products (because of the risk of botulism from improper processing)
  • wild game or uninspected meat
  • unpasteurized milk products and juices
  • food products with expiry dates that have passed

Prepared and cooked foods that have been prepared in an inspected food business can be donated to community meal programs as long as the food can meet these conditions:

  • has not been partially consumed
  • is in food grade packaging
  • is clearly identified with labels
  • has not been contaminated
  • does not show signs of thawing 
  • has not been previously reheated
  • has been stored either refrigerated at 4°C or lower or frozen at -18°C
  • food that is cooked is maintained hot at 60°C or higher until served or given away


Susan Healey, Communications Co-ordinator 613-345-5685 extension 2275 or 613-802-0550