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Project Title

Understanding How Food Waste and Food Safety Impact Food Donations to Address Food Insecurity in North Carolina

Funding Dates



Food insecurity is associated with an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia among adults and higher rates of chronic disease in adolescents. Up to 40% of the U.S. food supply is uneaten and discarded, while food available from food banks is often of poor nutritional quality. Restaurants and food retailers need guidance about what foods are healthiest to donate from a chronic disease prevention perspective and how current date labeling policies may increase waste without improving safety. The goal of this study is to better understand the quantity of food that is being wasted, the challenges and barriers associated with donating food, and the practices used to maximize donations of safe and nutritious foods while mitigating waste. Methods will include interviews and surveys with food bank managers, caterers, and food bank clients (particularly those with chronic disease). This data will inform recommendations for organizations interested in donating food, food banks and pantries interested in increasing healthy options, and policy that protects the public and gets healthier food to those in need.

Research Areas 

Cardiovascular Health, Obesity, and Diabetes
Health Equity
Healthy Food Access
Nutrition and Physical Activity

Principal Investigator

Alice Ammerman, DrPH in collaboration with researchers at Research Triangle Institute International


North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute (NC TraCS)