Friday, January 06, 2006 | The Modesto Bee-Wal-Mart to stop food donation | The Modesto Bee: "Directors of local charities reacted with surprise and disappointment Thursday after Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced it would no longer donate food near or past its expiration date to groups feeding the hungry.

A spokesman for the nation's largest food retailer said the food will be thrown away to protect the corporation from liability in case someone becomes sick from the donated food. The policy will apply to all 1,224 Wal-Marts, 1,929 Wal-Mart Supercenters and 558 Sam's Clubs.

'We can't guarantee the safety of the merchandise, and consumer safety is our top priority,' said spokesman Olan James, in a phone interview from Wal-Mart headquarters in Arkansas.

James said he is not aware of anybody suing Wal-Mart after getting sick from donated food.

Charities that received food from Wal-Mart are encouraged to apply for grants from the Wal-Mart Foundation, although the foundation won't increase the amount of money it gives out. The foundation distributed $170 million in 2004."

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