The Food and Drug Administration's latest Food Code provides new language that clarifies when food donations from retail establishments will be allowed if proper handling safety practices have been followed.  

FDA “encourages the donation of food that is stored, prepared, packaged, displayed, and labeled according to applicable provisions contained in the Food Code or local, state and federal statutes, regulations, and ordinances,” the agency said in a statement.

The process was never banned, but this is the first clarification of the rule to make it “more explicitly clear” that donations are accepted and encouraged.

Wasted food is the single largest material category placed in landfills. Approximately one-third of U.S. food goes uneaten instead of helping feed those most in need, FDA estimates.

The updated 2022 Food Code was released in September 2022 as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition and Health at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. The road map provides governmental actions to “end hunger and diet-related diseases by 2030 — all while reducing disparities,” FDA said.

The code is the FDA’s advice for “provisions that address the safety and protection of food offered at retail and in food service.” Although the model is not required, it is “widely adopted by state, local, tribal and territorial agencies that regulate more than 1 million restaurants, retail food stores, vending operations and food service operations nationwide,” FDA said.

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