CHICAGO — Cargill has donated $3 million to Feeding America in a partnership that is expected to enhance the food bank’s food safety practices. According to Cargill, half of the donation will go toward implementing food safety enhancements, including 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.

“The people we serve deserve safe, high quality food,” said Vicki Escarra, president and chief executive officer of Feeding America. “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. 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.”

In 2007, Cargill provided initial funding for Feeding America to create its national food safety program, and with its most recent donation the Minneapolis-based company hopes to 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.”

Cargill said $1 million will support Hunger-Free Minnesota, a statewide collaboration geared toward closing Minnesota’s gap of 100 million meals, annually and sustainably, by the end of 2014. The remaining $500,000 will support increasing the capacity and efficiency of Feeding America’s food sourcing program, which secured more than 1 billion lbs of food from food manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers last year.