How To Become a Food Partner
- Do you carry a product that you believe could benefit communities facing economic barriers?
- If you’re a food producer, distributor, commercial market, restaurant or local grower, we’re interested in connecting with you!
- Please email us at [email protected] with your expression of interest or call our General Manager direct at 604-602-0186 Ext: 3103.
- As a Quest Food Partner, you’re eligible to receive a tax deductive receipt for the approved value of the recovered food.
At Quest, clients will always find the food British Columbian households depend on for their day-to-day needs from produce, to protein, to dairy and other pantry staples. Thanks to our remarkable food donor partnerships, Quest is able to provide locally soured product to its members on a weekly basis.
In addition to our five grocery markets, Quest operates a fleet of five trucks and two distributions hubs allowing us to pick up and deliver across the Lower Mainland.
Some of our most popular and sought-after products include:
- Eggs, butter, 2% milk, and cheddar cheese
- Pulses, grains, and lentils
- Animal protein including chicken, pork, beef, fish, and halal products
- Green leaf lettuce, carrots, potatoes,
- Apples and oranges
Quest Food Standards
Despite our model and others like it operating across British Columbia, thousands of pounds of good, nutritional food still goes to waste simply because it is part of a surplus that cannot be sold or because it is oddly sized, blemished, or nearing its best-before-date.
The Best-Before-Date is when the quality of the food is no longer optimum but is still safe to eat and enjoy. Often it means the food might not be as fresh , taste or smell the same, or contain as many nutrients as the day it was first packaged.
We work hard to ensure all of our food is safe to consume which is why we strictly adhere to safe food recovery guidelines. No food that has reached its expiration date ever reaches our shelves. Expiration dates are different than best-before-dates in that they signal the last day a product is safe to consume. All of Quest’s food is safe to eat.
Quest follows the “Durable Life Information on Food Products” fact sheet and the “Acts and Regulations” administered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for all food that is handled through Quest Outreach Society. We also reference Food Safe Guidelines from resources such as “The Health Canada model for Food Safety in Food Banks”.
1. Cans should be free from rust, pitting, and dents especially at the rim and seam. Leaking or swollen cans should not be used and should be cleaned out and recycled.
2. Canned items should be stored below 23 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit).
3. Organizations typically use an average of two years for canned foods past their expiry date.
4. Acidity levels of different types of canned foods may vastly influence when and if a product should be consumed past its durable date.
5. After a year, though the food will not have spoiled, there is a steady loss of vitamins in canned vegetables and fruits. It is recommended that they be pulled off the shelves after 1 year.
6. Baby food is kept until the use-by date expires. There are no exceptions, and cans/jars should be cleaned out and recycled.
1. In a cool, dry storage place, cake mix, pasta, cereal, and cookies will last up to six months from the date of purchase.
2. Beverages are kept according to the manufacturers conditions, i.e. keep refrigerated.
3. Foods packaged other than for retail have a durable life of 90 days or less. A “best before” date, and storage instructions, must be declared in both French and English on any panel except the bottom of the container.
4. As a rule, non-potentially hazardous foods such as cereals or pasta will need judgment on whether they should be distributed past their expiry date.
5. One exception to the one year rule would be quinoa, which is a seed. It is highly nutritious and a good source of protein. But remember, like a lot of other seeds, it usually has a best by date and not an expiration date. Because of this, you can safely use it beyond the stamped best by date. Quinoa stored in a cool, dry and dark package can be safely eaten for up to three years. Any such exceptions will need to be approved by the Executive Director, and verified by local health authorities.
1. It is critical that potentially hazardous foods, such as dairy products, egg/egg products, tofu products, meat/meat products and poultry, are kept at a temperature of 4°C (40°F) or less, both before they are donated and at the food bank.
2. Milk usually carries a sell-by-date. That’s because it is affected by many things in the environment-it can lose vitamins when exposed to light, which is why it is usually packaged in opaque plastic or paperboard. It is recommended that dairy be pulled after the expiry date.
3. Properly refrigerated and handled, eggs are considered safe for consumption for 4 to 5 weeks beyond the sell-by date.
4. Hard cheeses can last up to 3 weeks after their production date; they can also be frozen up to 6 months.
- All frozen items must be stored at temperatures of –18 degrees Celsius (0 degrees Fahrenheit) or less.
- Frozen ground meat should be used within 3 months. Pork holds for 6 months. Beef, lamb, veal, and venison last 8 to 12 months.
- Poultry and other birds last about 12 months in the freezer.
- All fruits & vegetables can be judged by their look, texture, and smell. The better refrigeration of the product, the longer it can last.
- Packaged fruits & vegetables have dates on them, but the condition is still judged by the look of the product, some packaged products can still be good past their “best before date.”
Household Donation Policy
Thank you for your interest in making a food donation to Quest! Quest’s food policy is restricted to food recovery from industry food suppliers and excludes acceptance of food donations from individual households. If you are an individual wishing to support Quest and impact communities who identify as food insecure, please consider making a financial donation today.