A foodbank has received its oldest donation yet – a bag of pasta that went out of date 40 years ago.

Volunteers at Colchester Foodbank in Essex made the discovery while routinely checking dates on items and weighing them.

It arrived on a day when the centre received more than one tonne of donations, and interim manager Michael Beckett said he could not be specific about where it came from.

“I imagine someone had a clear-out of the back of a cupboard, a pantry maybe at grandma’s house – 40-year-old pasta is not the sort of thing most people have in their house,” he said.

Colchester Foodbank interim manager Michael Beckett (Colchester Foodbank/PA)Colchester Foodbank interim manager Michael Beckett (Colchester Foodbank/PA)

The bag of macaroni pasta, with a use-by date of 1977, was found along with a second bag of pasta which went out of date in 1979 and a packet of Sainsbury’s instant mashed potato that went out of date in 1979/80.

Mr Beckett said the previous oldest items received at the foodbank were anchovies and beans from the 1980s.

He appealed for people to check items before giving them to the charity, which started out in 2008 and operates from a warehouse with 42 volunteers.

“I thought ‘not again’ as we get a few out-of-date items every week,” he said. “It’s work we don’t like doing as it’s not about helping people, throwing out the bits we can’t use.

“We do appreciate what people give us but if it’s like this we can’t really use it.”