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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Milwaukee-based Roundy's has reportedly stopped the donation of leftover produce and day-old baked goods from its Rainbow Foods unit to local food shelves here, according to published reports. A source said Roundy's is concerned about the legal liability of donating food that is slightly past its prime. Roundy's was not available for comment yesterday.
Rainbow Foods has donated product to food shelves around the Twin Cities for at least five years, and its contributions to one Bloomington group, Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People, are estimated to total thousands of pounds a week.
According to Christine Pulver, the group's food shelf manager, a bakery manager at her local Rainbow said the donations were halted this month as a result of a corporate memo. The memo suggested that Roundy's was concerned about a potential or actual lawsuit as a result of giving out slightly old food.
Pulver added that she continues to receive fresh produce and bakery donations from other grocery chains, including Cub Foods and Byerly's. However, the situation seems to be
affecting other food charities in the state, as well.
A spokesman for the Emergency Food Shelf Network, which helps coordinate 60 food shelves in the state and runs a number of food donation programs, told Minnesota Public
Radio that donations overall this year are down 25 percent. Marc Ratner, marketing and development manager for the network, said his group's direct partnership with Roundy's,
called the Rainbow Initiative, will continue. The program enables Rainbow shoppers to purchase prepackaged bags of nonperishable foods and donate them on the spot.