When cleaning out your pantry for your local food bank, you might think canned food past its expiration date can't be donated. But the reality is that you can donate these items. The expiration date is actually a best-if-used-by date, meaning the manufacturer only guarantees freshness up to that date. It does not mean the food is expired or bad. Food banks encourage you to still donate canned food as long as the can isn't dented, bulging or rusted.