Ribbon's Grocery program offers food across the three food groups in Canada - produce, protein, and grains. We follow the guidelines for food distribution set by Food Banks BC and the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control.
Does Ribbon Community distribute expired food?
No, we do not distribute expired food. Expired food is based on expiry dates, which are regulated and required on only specific types of nutritional food products (infant formula, meal replacements, specific medical foods, and nutritional supplements).
Most food does not have an expiry date. We review food with expiry dates before distributing it and remove any food that is passed the expiry date.
Does Ribbon Community distribute food past the best before date?
Yes. We do distribute food past the best before date in line with the standards set by food rescue organizations.
Best before dates refer to the quality of the food based on the producer's plan for when it is at its most delicious. BCCDC and Food Banks BC say that food can be distributed after these best before dates.
Second Harvest, the largest food rescue org in Canada, has this handy chart that summarizes this information. These standards are used in many places, including by Ribbon staff, and are not specific to food banks.
What happens if I receive an item that is outside of these dates?
We can make mistakes when reviewing or sorting food based on these dates. Please let us know if you receive an item that does not meet the standards we have shared here. We will work with you and the team to understand what happened and prevent it from happening again in the future.
We also know these two sets of dates and various guidelines are complicated to understand. We are happy to share more information about these and clarify any information as needed.
Does Ribbon Community provide vitamins or natural health products?

Food Banks BC does not recommend distribution of vitamins or natural health products. Some clients request vitamins and natural health products. To meet this need, Ribbon Community only offers these products if they are donated to us. These products may not be right for every person. We do not provide advice about these items and if they are right for our clients.

For advice about vitamins and/or natural health supplements, if you have a BC Care Card, you can speak to a pharmacist to decide if this product is right for you by calling 8-1-1 .

Where does food for the Grocery program come from?
We provide a mix of food that has been donated to us and food that we purchase.
The food that is donated to use varies greatly week to week, in terms of what we get and the quality. These donations come from various grocers, food producers, and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. We sort donations and ensure they meet the standards set by Food Banks BC and the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control.
We purchase the bulk of the food we distribute from various grocers, including places where our team shops.