School of Public Policy Capstones

Publication Date



In recent years, food banks have grown increasingly aware of the role diet plays in wide-spread public health issues such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. Food banks already purchase healthy foods directly and select nutritious items distributed by government programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). Recently, some banks have implemented nutrition policies to regulate donations made by businesses and individuals to further decrease the volume of less healthy options in their warehouses.

This study explores the challenges and opportunities associated to the implementation of nutrition policies for donated food items by Food Banks in the USA. An area of special focus is the possible deterioration of donor relations after the implementationof nutrition policies. We collected information by designing and implementing a survey targeting twenty-one food banks across the United States.. Fourteen respondents had nutrition policies, and were asked to discuss how they created, implemented, communicated, and evaluated those policies. Six respondents had no nutrition policy, and one had reversed its policy. These food banks were asked to describe the barriers to creating or implementing a policy and any current practices that promote the distribution of nutritious foods.