Food Recovery Requirements for Businesses
California Senate Bill (SB) 1383 requires certain businesses and government entities (defined as Commercial Edible Food Generators) to donate their surplus edible food to organizations that distribute it to community members in need. Feeding people is the best use for food that would otherwise go in the trash.
If your business does not meet the SB 1383 definition of Commercial Edible Food Generator, your business is not required by law to donate surplus edible food. See SB 1383 definitions in the FAQ below.
Food Recovery Requirements for Commercial Edible Food Generators
- Recover the maximum amount of edible food that would otherwise be disposed.
- Arrange food recovery through a contract or written agreement with a food recovery organization or service that will either a) collect food for recovery and/or b) accept food that the business self-hauls.
- Maintain records of food recovery including the following:
- A list of each food recovery organization that receives the business’s edible food.
- A copy of all food recovery contracts or written agreements.
- A record of the following for each food recovery organization or service that the business has a contract or written agreement with:
- The name, address and contact information of the organization.
- The types of food that will be given to the organization.
- The established frequency that food will be collected or self-hauled.
- The quantity of food given for food recovery, measured in pounds per month.
“Edible food that would otherwise be thrown away” means food that is intended for people to eat but not sold because of surplus, appearance, age, freshness, grade, etc. The food recovery mandate applies to all food items including perishable foods, prepared foods, packaged foods, and produce. All donated edible food must meet the food safety requirements of the California Retail Food Code (CalCode).
Monitoring for Compliance
Commercial edible food generators are subject to inspections to monitor compliance with the edible food recovery requirements set forth above. The City’s priority is to provide the support your business needs to become compliant before issuing formal enforcement actions.
- Straightforward and compliant Food Recovery Written Agreement Form for City of Long Beach businesses – formatted as a fillable PDF or Word document for print
- Model Food Recovery Contract/Written Agreement developed by CalRecycle (customizable resource with sample legal langauge for various needs)
- Long Beach Municipal Code Chapter 8.60.370 – Mandatory organic waste disposal reduction
- SB 1383 Requirements for Food Recovery at Large Events (i.e. events serving an average of 2000+ individuals per day of operation)
- California Safe Surplus Food Donation Toolkit – includes resources such as food waste prevention tips for grocery stores and restaurants, legal protections, a Food Donation Agreement Form, a Food Donation Delivery Form, and more
- Model Food Generator Recordkeeping Tool developed by CalRecycle
- SB 1383 Frequently Asked Questions for Food Generators developed by CalRecycle
- Solana Center food donation, food waste prevention, and organics recycling resources for businesses
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
State Senate Bill (or SB) 1383 requires commercial edible food generators to donate all leftover or unsold food that would otherwise be disposed. SB 1383 sets a statewide goal to recover 20% of edible food waste by 2025 to address food insecurity in California and reduce food waste. SB 1383 also mandates organics recycling statewide and additional requirements meant to reduce methane emissions and other climate pollutants.
In 2018, 4.3 million Californians (10.8% of California’s population) did not have enough to eat. By May 2020, that number had doubled, surging to 9.2 million Californians, which is 23% of California’s population. However, Californians send 11.2 billion pounds of food to landfills each year, some of which is still fresh enough to be recovered to feed people in need (calrecycle.ca.gov).
Organic waste in landfills emits:
- 20% of the state’s methane, a climate super pollutant 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
- Air pollutants like PM 2.5, which contributes to health conditions like asthma.
Organics like food scraps, yard trimmings, paper, and cardboard make up half of what Californians dump in landfills. Reducing Short-Lived Climate Super Pollutants like organic waste will have an immense impact on the climate crisis (calrecycle.ca.gov).
The SB 1383-defined Commercial Edible Food Generators are:
Tier 1 – Effective January 1, 2022
- Supermarkets with revenue ≥ $2 million
- Grocery Stores with Facilities ≥ 10,000 sq. ft.
- Food Service Providers
- Food Distributors
- Wholesale Food Vendors
- Restaurant with 250+ seats OR a total facility size of 5,000+ square feet
- Hotel with on-site food facility and 200+ rooms
- Health facility with an on-site food facility and 100+ beds
- Large venue serving an average of 2,000+ individuals within the grounds of the facility per day of operation
- Large event serving an average of 2000+ individuals per day of operation
- A state agency with a cafeteria with 250+ seats OR total cafeteria size of 5,000+ square feet
- A local education agency facility with an on-site food facility
Edible food includes food not sold because of surplus, appearance, age, or freshness, and includes prepared food, packaged food, shelf-stable food, and produce. Donated food must meet food safety requirements of the California Retail Food Code.
Food Recovery Organization is defined as an entity that engages in the collection or receipt of edible food and distributes that edible food to the public for food recovery.
Food Recovery Service is defined as a person or entity that collects and transports edible food to a food recovery organization or other entities for food recovery.
Food Service Provider is defined as an entity primarily engaged in providing food services to institutional, governmental, commercial, or industrial locations of others based on contractual arrangements with these types of organizations.
Food Distributor is defined as a company that distributes food to entities including, but not limited to, supermarkets and grocery stores.
Wholesale Food Vendor is defined as a business or establishment engaged in the merchant wholesale distribution of food, where food (including fruits and vegetables) is received, shipped, stored, prepared for distribution to a retailer, warehouse, distributor, or other destination.
Grocery Store is defined as a store primarily engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and any area that is not separately owned within the store where the food is prepared and served, including a bakery, deli, and meat and seafood departments, with a total facility size equal to or greater than 10,000 square feet.
Supermarket is defined as a full-line, self-service retail store with gross annual sales of two million dollars ($2,000,000), or more, and which sells a line of dry grocery, canned goods, or nonfood items and some perishable items.
Restaurant is defined as with an establishment primarily engaged in the retail sale of food and drinks for on-premises or immediate consumption with 250 or more seats, OR a total facility size equal to or greater than 5,000 square feet.
Health Facility has the same meaning as in Section 1250 of the Health and Safety Code, with an on-site food facility and 100 or more beds.
Hotel has the same meaning as in Section 17210 of the Business and Professions Code, with an on-site food facility and 200 or more rooms.
The City of Long Beach maintains a list of food recovery organizations and services that may be available to accept donations. Navigate to the list of food rescue organizations.
For compliance with SB 1383, edible food must be donated to an organization with which the business has a written contract or agreement. Written agreements help protect both the donor and the organization receiving the donation.
Per SB 1383, only edible food that would otherwise have been disposed of must be donated to a food recovery organization. The City does not discourage the practice of providing employees with free or discounted food.
These legislative protections make it safe to donate your edible food:
- The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act federally protects from liability when donating food in good faith. The 2023 Food Donation Improvement Act further expands these protections.
- The California Good Samaritan Food Donation Act expands liability protection to cover donations given directly from food donors to end recipients and provides protection for “past-date” foods still fit for human consumption.
- The California Health and Safety Code Section 114433 protects food facilities from criminal liability for a violation that occurs after the time donation.
All SB 1383-defined commercial edible food generators are subject to inspections at any time.
Resources coming soon.