Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

Sanitation Problems in Warehouses Storing USDA

Sanitation Problems in Warehouse Storing USDA-Donated Surplus Foods
Program Management
Date Revised:
January, 29 1988

To provide guidance for situations where insanitary conditions exist in warehouses containing USDA-donated commodities.


A recent meeting was held with USDA concerning problems the field has been encountering with the storage of USDA-donated surplus foods. These included 301(k) type of violations where the donated foods had become contaminated by rodents, insects, or other sources of contamination due to poor storage conditions.

USDA position is that:

  1. Donated foods are the property of the state.
  2. When stored in a private warehouse, USDA has no control over the commodity.
  3. Proper action on contaminated food is a state responsibility.


When insanitary conditions are encountered ln a warehouse containing USDA-donated commodities, the following actions are to be taken:

  1. USDA (regional food nutrition service office) and the appropriate state officials will be notified by the responsible district office.
  2. The state officials should be asked to take the necessary regulatory action to remove the adulterated food commodities from distribution. (The state officials should be asked to respond in three days if they plan to take action to correct the problem.)
  3. If the state determines it is not prepared to take action, the district will submit the appropriate regulatory action recommendation (i.e., seizure, mass seizure, injunction, etc.) to the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. The state should be kept advised of our actions.

Page Last Updated: 05/18/2015
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