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Scientists evaluate food safety practices to help support nonprofit food pantries

Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have done an in-depth analysis of food safety at nonprofit food pantries that distribute food directly to people in need. While the work has identified shortcomings at many such pantries, the goal was to identify how food safety experts can help these pantries best meet the needs of their clients.

“We knew that food pantries, in North Carolina and many other states, aren’t regulated the same way that restaurants are, and that pantries are crucial distributors of food to those in need, but we did not have a good understanding of how food safety is practiced at food pantries,” says Ben Chapman, an associate professor of youth, family, and consumer sciences at NC State and senior author of a new paper on the work.

“This is a particularly important issue because research tells us that the people most likely to rely on help from food pantries are also those who have less access to health care to address foodborne illness in the event that they do get sick,” says Ashley Chaifetz, lead author of the paper. Chaifetz completed the research while a doctoral student at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Read more in the NC State University news release.