ONTARIO: Food bank focuses on food safety
Posted: April 27th, 2009 - 10:39am
Glen Watts, president, Neighbour to Neighbour, Hamilton, The Hamilton Spectator writes regarding, 'Food safety practices need to be applied to food banks, too' (Letters, April 22), to say that food banks do focus on food safety practices. Our food bank in the Neighbour to Neighbour Centre on the Hamilton Mountain has clear internal and external policies.
When we receive food donations, volunteers sort all the food and check every expiration date. Any food past its due date is automatically thrown out. The dates are checked again by our volunteer shelf stockers and our volunteer food bank workers.
We are set up like a grocery store. Clients shop for themselves, so they choose the items they want and can check the dates one more time. If an item slips through this four-step process and the client gets home and finds they have an item past due, they contact us and we replace it.
From time to time we do receive bread or pasta that comes to us with pests in it from the original source. We immediately isolate and dispose of it. To protect the quality of these foods, we store pasta in a walk-in cooler and bread in an enclosed storage facility. We rotate our inventory based on due dates, a further reflection of our attention to quality and freshness.
We monitor food recalls through the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. We are regularly inspected by the city's Public Health Services, have passed every inspection and keep records of these inspections. Public health advises us of any food safety issues in the Hamilton area.
We believe all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and our food practices reflect this.
I invite the letter writer to tour our centre. She might also consider becoming a volunteer and joining others who work hard to ensure this necessary service continues.