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Streamlining Procedures for Donating Wholesome Misbranded Meat and Poultry Products to Non-Profit Organizations

Food Safety and Inspection Service


Rachel Edelstein, Assistant Administrator, Office of Policy and Program Development, FSIS


Reduce the amount of wholesome food Federal establishments send to landfills by donating such food to non-profit organizations, an economically viable alternative.   FSIS is aware of federally inspected establishments that are willing to donate meat and poultry products, but are hesitant to do so, because of the amount of time it takes to apply for and receive temporary label approval and the resources involved in applying a “not for sale” statement to the immediate containers of affected product. FSIS has evaluated alternatives to facilitate the movement of donated foods in a way that is consistent with ensuring public health protection and food safety.  After careful review of this matter, FSIS has concluded that it will allow establishments to donate wholesome misbranded products under specified conditions, without temporary label approval, provided that the bills of lading for the product include certain information for Agency verification activities.  The specific conditions for allowing donations will be clearly identified in an upcoming FSIS Notice, followed by additional guidance to our field personnel.   

Activity 1

Issue an FSIS Notice that provides instructions for all Agency personnel.  This nationwide instruction will clarify policy and procedures for the donation of wholesome misbranded meat and poultry products from federally inspected establishments and in-commerce firms.  The Notice will effectively communicate the policy and verification procedures required to be performed and documented by Agency personnel.  The Notice is expected to be issued by September 2013. 

Activity 2

In conjunction with the issuance of the FSIS Notice, FSIS management will provide an overview of the new policy and verification procedures during a nationwide correlation meeting with the 10 Office of Field Operations (OFO) District Managers overseeing federally-inspected establishments.  Intend to complete meeting by September 2013.

Activity 3

FSIS will amend the questions and answers published in AskFSIS and add a link on the Agency’s website to reflect the changes implemented in the FSIS Notice described in Activity 1. Intend to develop Q&A and publish by September 2013.

Activity 4

Publish an article in an FSIS Constituent Update (regular communication with industry and other stakeholders) highlighting the key components of the procedures and where additional information can be found to ensure the new policy and procedures are transparent and easily understood by all interested parties.  Intend to complete by September 2013.

Activity 5

Determine means to document each donation, as well as collect and report in-commerce donation data, by October 2013:

    • Determine the means for in-commerce personnel to document each donation and record product description and amount donated by in-commerce firms. 
    • Determine the means to calculate and report the total number of donations and amount of misbranded products donated to non-profit organizations.

Activity 6

Train/educate in-commerce personnel on the donation policy/procedures as documented in the new Donation Notice by October 2013.