Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  Expiration of Donations

    Posted 08-25-2023 06:27 AM

    don't think its the correct topic - but wanted to ask what everyone does with expired foods; treats; etc.  We get donations and sometimes its only a few months away from expiration, we will still provide these to fosters for several months past the expiration date.  Some fosters ask about that but can still be used when not that long past the date.  We don't want to toss but don't want to give food pantries expired items either - any other options you know of?


    geri golonka
    Tiny N Tall Rescue
    St. Charles, IL

  • 2.  RE: Expiration of Donations

    Posted 08-25-2023 10:40 PM

    We have a wildlife rescue that will take some expired foods for their animals, so I'd recommend reaching out to local wildlife rescues/rehabbers to see if they could use it.

    Sam Maurice
    Humane Society of Jefferson County
    Jefferson WI

  • 3.  RE: Expiration of Donations

    Posted 08-25-2023 11:57 PM

    Our awesome volunteer veterinarian advised that six months past date is still ok, so that's rule we follow.  I'd love to hear what others do.  

    Diane Metz
    Orange Street Cats, Inc.

  • 4.  RE: Expiration of Donations

    Posted 08-27-2023 11:53 AM

    We follow the same guideline. The food may still be good past those 6 months, but that this the point where the risk starts to feel unacceptable to most of us, particularly since we don't know the storage conditions of the last couple years. (Was it in a damp garage, freezing and thawing for 18 months? Or in a temp-controlled indoor pantry?) 

    If we are really low on pet food for our pantry, we may set aside a more expired bag and offer it to folks with full disclosure that it is more expired than we usually like to serve. That lets them decide whether they feel like the risk is worth it. I also keep in mind that if the food is spoiled, these are exactly the folks who don't have resources for medical help. If we feel like it might be unsafe, it isn't more fair to pass that risk along.

    Emme Hones

  • 5.  RE: Expiration of Donations

    Posted 08-26-2023 06:33 AM

    Others may not agree with my suggestion but I  would offer it to small struggling rescues in your area with the clear understanding that they need to check the food prior to use for spoilage.

    Our group's focus is on transporting at-risk animals to rescues out of Arkansas,  but our mission is to support Arkansas rescues and shelters in our Coalition. A program we have includes collecting excess pet supplies from both receiving partners and members of our Coalition for delivery to our members that are struggling.  Some of the food is past expiration; we don't distribute any wet food where the containers are compromised.

    Assisting other animal welfare organizations in your community in this way can be the first step to more collaboration that benefits more animals at-risk.

    June Thomas
    Central Arkansas Rescue Transport

  • 6.  RE: Expiration of Donations

    Posted 08-28-2023 03:33 PM

    I heard they are good for at least 6 mos after the date so we use them and never had any issues

    Sandy Cole

  • 7.  RE: Expiration of Donations

    Posted 08-28-2023 05:54 PM

    I am comfortable using expired products and meds for a good six months after expiration. I'd trust my eyes and nose after that. If products are kept at incorrect temperatures, it's likely to show. I believe the worst case scenario is that nutrients may lose a little of their potency. And, let's face it, whose grandma hasn't served or eaten expired tuna or other canned foods, If you've ever cleaned out a pantry for an elderly relative, you may well find they've been eating foods expired a year or more. 

    Valerie Blankenship
    Mobile Bay Cats

  • 8.  RE: Expiration of Donations

    Posted 08-29-2023 06:58 AM

    We get many donations of brands and types of food we cannot use.  We also use the 6 months after expiration guideline on what we will use in the shelter. 

    We just hosted a Pet Pantry event with unneeded or almost expired items along with carpeted items we cannot use (trees, scratchers, condos).  I promoted the event on Instagram and Social Media, trying to reach the groups I thought would benefit.  We did a "donations appreciated but not necessary" vibe for the event.  

    Unfortunately, we did not have a good turnout for the event but we did have several people come out that care for feral cats, foster in larger numbers, etc.  If you can reach these people somehow, they are very grateful for free or low cost food.  There could be FB groups set up in your state for ferals or tnr that you could invite.   Next time, we will also post on Nextdoor.  

    We also struggle with not wanting to waste the food but finding the people that could use it.  

    Jenna Ricci
    Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue