Information on Shelf Life of Food Bank Products
Shelf Stable Items Past Code
Many of the shelf-stable items you receive are donated and may be past code dates (sell by date, use by date, etc.). It is safe to eat these foods. Check with your pantry manager for the safe window of time for different foods. We also have a chart with specific foods available for download.
You will often receive meat that is past code date. This meat was frozen before code date and is therefore safe to eat. Before cooking meat, be sure to thaw completely and never thaw at room temperature.
Often, produce from the Food Bank may not be "perfect". However, it is okay to eat, with a bit of preparation. If the lettuce is brown on the edges, you can tear off the edges and still have a full head of lettuce. Soft spots can be cut off so you can enjoy the rest!
Do not consume food from cans or jars if:
- Container is leaking or stained
- Container is swollen
- Container is badly dented, crimped or pinched
- Container is cracked
- Lids are loose or missing
- Safety seals are broken or missling
- Container is rusty
- Foul odor exists
- Food exhibits changed color or odor
Do not eat food from boxes if:
- Bag inside is torn or leaking
- Bag inside has moldy or foreign objects inside
- Bag inside has ripped seals
- Is open or torn
- Has live or dead insects, webs or droppings
- Is stained or wet
Remember for all foods:
WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT!!!
For more information on shelf life of specific foods, please read more.
©2006 Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Printed with permission.