Edible Food Recovery

What is the edible food recovery requirement? 

What? Senate Bill 1383 (SB 1383) is a new California law that requires businesses who produce food to donate the maximum amount of edible food they would otherwise throw away, to food recovery organizations.

Why? Almost 1 in 4 Californians don’t have enough to eat. Feeding hungry people through food recovery is the best use for edible food. Food recovery conserves resources and reduces the amount of organic waste in landfills. As food waste decomposes in the landfill, it creates large amounts of methane gas. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that traps heat in our atmosphere which is bad for our environment and climate.

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Who is affected? SB 1383 requires some businesses that produce, sell, and serve food to donate excess edible food. These businesses are categorized into two tiers.

When? Tier 1 is required to donate starting in 2022 and Tier 2 in 2024. Tier 1 businesses can help their communities now by starting to work with local food banks, food pantries, and other food recovery organizations and services.

Who are Commercial Edible Food Generators?

Tier One businesses shall comply with edible food donation and recovery requirements commencing January 1, 2022.  Tier Two businesses shall comply with edible food donation and recovery requirements commencing January 1, 2024.  Mandated food generators (Tier One and Tier Two) are listed below:


Tier One effective 01/01/22  

  • Supermarket. 
  • Grocery store with a total facility size equal to or greater than 10,000 square feet. 
  • Food service provider. 
  • Food distributor. 
  • Wholesale food vendor. 


Tier two effective 01/01/24

  • Restaurant with 250 or more seats, or a total facility size equal to or greater than 5,000 square feet. 
  • Hotel with an on-site food facility and 200 or more rooms. 
  • Health facility with an on-site food facility and 100 or more beds. 
  • Large venue. 
  • Large event. 
  • A state agency with a cafeteria with 250 or more seats or a total cafeteria facility size equal to or greater than 5,000 square feet. 
  • Local education agency with an on-site food facility.


Who are Food Recovery Organizations?

A food recovery organization means an entity that collects edible food and distributes that edible food to the public for food recovery either directly or through other entities including, but not limited to: a food bank or a nonprofit charitable organization.

If your business fits into the mandated Tier One or Tier Two classification, please set up a food recovery agreement with one of the following organizations:


Organization Name



AddressTypes of Food Accepted

Abound Food Care (Previously Waste Not OC)



200 N Tustin Ave Santa Ana, CA 92705
Fresh, frozen, perishable and non-perishable, packaged or bulk food products.

Chefs to End Hunger



13527 Orden Drive Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
Fresh, frozen, perishable and non-perishable, and prepared food products.

Community Action Partnership of Orange County Food Bank



11870 Monarch Street Garden Grove, CA 92841
Fresh, frozen, perishable and non-perishable food products.

Food Finders



10539 Humbolt St Los Alamitos, CA 90720
Perishable and non-perishable food products, pet food, and baby food.

Second Harvest



8014 Marine Way Irvine, CA 92618
Perishable and non-perishable food products that meet nutritional guidelines (healthy).


Organization Name



Types of Food Accepted

Crossline Community Church



23331 Moulton Parkway Laguna Hills, CA 92653
Perishable and non-perishable food


What are the Requirements for Donations?

  • A contract or written agreement must be maintained with food recovery service(s) or organization(s) to pick up or receive edible food.  
  • A record must also be kept indicating all types of food being donated, pounds donated per month, frequency of donations, and the contact information of the contracted food recovery service(s) and/or organization(s).
  • Generators shall not intentionally spoil food that can be recovered.
  • Large venues or large event operators that do not provide food services, but allow for food to be provided, shall require food facilities operating on site to comply with the above organics diversion and food recovery requirements. 

More information can be found at CalRecycle’s website: https://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/organics/slcp/foodrecovery/donors

What Liability is There for Donations?

When you're giving food to food banks and other nonprofit organizations, you're protected from criminal and civil lawsuits by the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, a federal law signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996.

California Civil Code Section 1714.25 (a) states: “Except for injury resulting from negligence or a willful act in the preparation or handling of donated food, no food facility that donates any food that is fit for human consumption at the time it was donated to a nonprofit charitable organization, or a food bank shall be liable.”

What Do Product Labels Mean?

Food date labels are an attempt to indicate quality of food, but not safety. In fact, the only federal regulation for date labeling of products is for infant formula. Most food products are still safe to eat past the date labeled on the product.

  • A "Sell-By" date tells the store how long to display the product for sale.
  • A "Best by" or "Best if Used By" date is recommended for best flavor or quality. 
  • A "Use-By" date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The date has been determined by the manufacturer of the product.


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