Food bank passes on airport goose meat

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - "Thanks, but no thanks."  That's how a Birmingham food bank is responding an offer of harvested goose meat . Larry Logan, the Executive Director of Community Food Bank of Central Alabama says he's grateful for the offer of the meat, but has to turn it down due to the bank's participation in a national program.

Earlier this month, the Birmingham Airport Authority had more than 200 Canada geese removed from three parks surrounding the airport.     Authority spokesperson Toni Hererra-Bast says the geese would congregate in Eastlake, Avondale and Patton parks.  All three are within a three mile radius of the airport.  Hererra-Bast says when the birds fly between parks they pose a danger of flying into planes' engines.  Removing the birds, she says, was done for passenger safety.   Over the years, the authority has tried several methods to harass the geese away.  They've planted a specific type of grass that repels the birds.  They've fogged nearby trees in an effort to prevent roosting.  But Hererra-Bast says those efforts did not work so they asked the USDA for help.   That's when officers came in, removed the geese and then offered the meat to Logan's organization.

But Thursday, Logan explained that because the bank is part of the national "Feeding America" program, he would have to pass on the offer.  "Due to the Feeding America guidelines we can only accept beef, chicken, fowl, things like that from USDA inspected processors," Logan said.  "We get a lot of meat products in here, but it all comes straight from the processors."

Officials with the USDA say they while they have systems in place to test any harvested meat that would be donated, they understand if rules must be followed.  They will look for another agency to accept the offer.

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