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Ensuring Safe Food Distribution

Ensuring Safe Food Distribution

Every person needs food to eat, and the quality of that food is critical for their health, safety, and dignity. Our mission extends beyond simply providing food to those in need. We believe that every individual deserves access to safe, nutritious meals, and that's why food safety is at the core of everything we do. 

The focus on food safety is one of the key things that makes Feeding America food banks unique- and why it’s ingrained into the very fiber of how our food banks operate. With a firm commitment to maintaining the highest standards of food safety, our food banks follow stringent requirements, thorough training, and ongoing support for our food bank teams and partners.

Standard of Safety

Because of their involvement as Feeding America network members, our 9 food banks meet strict food safety standards. These standards are not just guidelines; they are the bedrock of the commitment to providing safe food to individuals and families facing hunger. These standards mean the quality of the food and the safety of the process provide the families served with dignity and respect.

Rodney Wilson, the Florida Branch Manager at Feeding the Gulf Coast, explained how staff undergoes annual ServSafe training on food safety, complemented by monthly and quarterly training sessions led by a warehouse manager. 

“Additionally, [our food bank] undergoes an AIB (American Institute of Baking) inspection every two years, and has an annual inspection conducted by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS),” added Rodney. “These measures ensure we consistently meet the highest standards of food safety and regulatory compliance.”

That's why our food banks continually review and enhance our food safety practices, incorporating the latest industry standards and best practices. For Rodney and Feeding the Gulf Coast, “It shows our dedication to providing safe, nutritious food and builds trust with our recipients, donors, and partners.” 

Empowering Through Training

Education is key to ensuring that everyone involved in food distribution understands and adheres to best practices in food safety. That's why Feeding Florida’s food banks have comprehensive training requirements outlined in their Partner Food Bank Agreements with Feeding America. From basic food safety training to advanced courses, the staff, volunteers, and partners are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to handle food safely. 

“At food banks, it is crucial for everyone, not just specific departments, to know and understand food safety standards,” says Rodney. “While certain departments may focus more on specific safety practices due to the nature of their work, it is essential for all staff and volunteers at food banks to be knowledgeable about and adhere to food safety standards to ensure the well-being of the food we distribute.”

How does this food safety translate all the way to the food pantries that serve families directly? The food bank agency relations team participates in a comprehensive Food Safety Training program. This initiative targets the primary contact person from each partner agency, empowering them to effectively train their volunteer pantry staff. By arming partner food pantries with essential tools and knowledge, we can continue the effort to safely distribute quality food to the communities we serve. 

Changing with the Times

The network’s commitment to food safety is unwavering. The food banks understand that ensuring safe food distribution is not a one-time effort but an ongoing journey. As the landscape evolves and our member food banks engage in more advanced food processing operations, Feeding America consistently provides invaluable tools, training, and resources to support them in meeting these evolving requirements.

To learn more about Feeding America’s commitment to food safety and the standards in place, visit https://www.feedingamerica.org/our-work/food-safety 

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