CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, U.S. — Feeding America is partnering with Cargill to further enhance its food safety practices, the groups announced on Oct. 31.

"The people we serve deserve safe, high quality food. All of our food banks adhere to the same stringent standards as grocers, food manufacturers and restaurants, but we strive to be best-in-class," said Vicki Escarra, president and chief executive officer of Feeding America. "Cargill is a leader in food safety and a longtime supporter of Feeding America. Our partnership is a key to helping us achieve our food safety goals."

Cargill recently donated $3 million to Feeding America, half of which will go toward implementing rigorous food safety enhancements. This includes training Feeding America's 200 member food banks on best practices and working with a third party organization to audit the network for food safety excellence. In 2007, Cargill provided initial funding for Feeding America to create its national food safety program. With its most recent grant, Cargill will continue to provide expertise on food safety.

"Food safety is an important public health issue that presents complex challenges for hunger relief organizations," said Mike Robach, who leads Cargill's food safety efforts. "Cargill is working to continuously improve food safety, and we welcome the opportunity to share our knowledge. We applaud Feeding America's leadership in this area."

Another $500,000 will support increasing the capacity and efficiency of Feeding America's food sourcing program, which secured more than 1 billion pounds of food from food manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers last year.

In addition to supporting food safety and sourcing enhancements, $1 million of Cargill's grant will support Hunger-Free Minnesota. The initiative is a statewide collaboration in Cargill's headquarters community for corporate and community organizations to work together to close Minnesota's gap of 100 million meals, annually and sustainably, by the end of 2014. It is the goal of Feeding America that Hunger-Free Minnesota will serve as a pilot for other states to replicate.