Food Safety

Disclaimer: The information provided is believed to be reliable and accurate however the accuracy of the information is not guaranteed nor is any responsibility assumed or implied by Food Donation Connection for any damage or loss resulting from inaccuracies or omissions.

Quality Control and Handling

Critical Food Handling Temperatures:

Foods are most susceptible to microbial spoilage between the temperatures of 41°F and 140°F. Place food to be donated in food safe plastic bags or food safe, sanitized, shallow containers with a product depth (or width) of less than 4 inches. Immediately store under refrigeration (or freezing). It is critical that the temperature of the food is 41°F or lower within 4 hours. Reheat foods to an internal temperature of at least 165°F or higher for at least 15 seconds. If this temperatures is not reached within 2 hours, discard.

Cooked food must NOT BE HELD at temperatures between 140°F and 41°F.

Shelf Life Standards

Method Temperature Maximum Storage Time
Cooler 35°F - 41° 72 hours
Freezer   0°F - (± 10°F) 1 Week


Donation LabelAll donated surplus food must be labeled. Surplus food for donation must be stored in food safe plastic bags or food safe containers. A food donation label should be attached to each bag or container. This label should include donor name and location, description of the item, as well as the date and time it was saved.

Product Storage at Restaurant or Food Service Establishment

Food that is to be donated Food Safe Bag should be placed in approved food-safe plastic bags or containers, Cambro (r) Pan and labeled with the date and time of storage. This food should then be placed in the walk-in cooler, refrigerator or freezer immediately to avoid spoiling (some agencies would prefer product to be frozen). Product to be donated should be kept at a temperature below 41°F at all times after it is placed into a container. Use approved handling procedures at all times regardless of the amount of food being donated. 


Storage and Transportation System: Cambro (r) Pan

Food Safe Bag The storage and transportation containers and approved food-safe plastic bags provide  a system by which product can be saved and transported in a clean and food safe manner.

1.  Agency
  • Cleans & sanitizes any food pans & covers used in storing or transportation of donated food.
2.  Food Rescue Program or Agency
  • Returns any food containers used to store surplus food to restaurant.
3.  Restaurant or Food Service Establishment
  • Identifies surplus food for donation
  • Insures that food is placed in food safe plastic bags or approved containers and labeled with contents and date and time of storage.
  • Places surplus food in freezer or cooler
4.  Food Rescue Program or Agency
  • Picks up surplus food per determined pickup schedule and transports to agency using approved transport carrier (if applicable).
5.  Agency
  • Serves product to the needy under food safe conditions.
6.  Cycle repeats - Go to step 1