Colchester Food Bank issues advice after receiving donations some 40 years out of date

Colchester Food Bank posted this picture online showing the expired food. Picture: COLCHESTER FOOD B

Colchester Food Bank posted this picture online showing the expired food. Picture: COLCHESTER FOOD BANK - Credit: Archant

Colchester Food Bank has reminded people not to donate out of date food, after discovering pasta and mash potato packets decades past their best before date.

Colchester Food Bank has received out of date food from the seventies. Pictured is manager Michael B

Colchester Food Bank has received out of date food from the seventies. Pictured is manager Michael Beckett. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The food bank, in Moorside Business Park, posted a picture of the items on its Facebook page this week and warned people about the extra work that goes into disposing of expired food.

“Some of it was from 1979, but one packet was from 1977. Our record was 1982 so we didn’t think we would beat it,” Michael Beckett, manager at the food bank, said.

He added: “We do get donations that are out of date more often than we would like.

“My colleague recently had to take 87kg of stuff to the tip which was partially opened or out of date and it’s a lot of extra work for us.

Colchester Food Bank has received out of date food from the seventies. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Colchester Food Bank has received out of date food from the seventies. Picture: GREGG BROWN


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“We get out of date food fairly regularly but most of it isn’t and it’s fine. It happens a few times a week.”

Mr Beckett also explained that while there is lee-way with perishable food such as fruit and vegetables, because volunteers can tell if it is not safe to eat, items like tinned cans are harder to check.

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He said: “If it’s not safe for human consumption we cannot give it out. We do what we can with fruit and vegetables, but we have got to protect the health of those we’re giving food to.

“If it’s tinned food then we can’t make a judgement call and we will go with what the manufacturer has said.”

Colchester Food Bank has received out of date food from the seventies. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Colchester Food Bank has received out of date food from the seventies. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Partially opened food is also a problem at the food bank, which helped more than 300 adults and 167 children in August alone.

Mr Beckett added: “If you don’t like something or your kids don’t like and it’s open and you give it to us then we can’t check it because we don’t know under what conditions it’s been.

“We have to be safe.”

Colchester Food Bank is currently in need of washing powder and liquid, tinned potatoes, and long-life milk and juice.

It asks that food donations have at least two months left before their best before date.

To see a full list of what the food bank needs, visit its Facebook page or search @colcfbank on Twitter.

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