Food Donors: Fight Hunger and Combat Climate Change

Volunteer pulling food donations with a hand truckAlmost 1 in 4 Californians don’t have enough to eat. SB 1383 requires certain food businesses to donate the maximum amount of edible food they would otherwise dispose, to food recovery organizations.

The law phases food donors in under two tiers. The first tier is required to donate starting in 2022. The second tier is required to donate starting in 2024. Mandated food donors can help their communities now by starting to work with local food banks, food pantries, and other food recovery organizations and services.

Safe Surplus Food Donation Guide PDF download

California Food Bank Locator Tool

Model Food Recovery Agreement

Safe Surplus Food Donation Toolkit PDF download (guidance for environmental health departments)


SB 1383 places mandated food donors into two tiers. This tier system allows businesses and jurisdictions more time to prepare to expand or build new food recovery infrastructure and capacity to donate foods that are harder to safely store and distribute. 

Infographic: What Tier are You In?

Commercial Edible Food Generators

Tier 1: January 1, 2022.

Tier one businesses typically have more produce, fresh grocery, and shelf-stable foods to donate.

Tier 1 businesses include:

  • Wholesale food vendors
  • Food service providers
  • Food distributors
  • Grocery stores and supermarkets greater than 10,000 square feet

Tier 2: January 1, 2024

Tier two businesses typically have more prepared foods to donate, which often require more careful handling to meet food safety requirements (e.g. time and temperature controls).

Tier 2 business include:

  • Hotels with an on-site food facility and 200 plus rooms
  • State agencies greater than 5,000 square feet or 250 plus seats
  • Large venues and events
  • Restaurant facilities greater than 5,000 square feet or 250 plus seats
  • Health facilities with an on-site food facility and 100 plus beds

A restaurant hands off food donations to food bankEstablishing Contracts and Written Agreements with Food Recovery Organizations and Services

The regulations require mandated food donors to donate for people to eat the maximum amount of their edible food that would otherwise be disposed.

To ensure that the maximum amount of edible food is recovered, the regulations require that mandated food donors establish contracts or written agreements with food recovery organizations and services.

Food recovery organizations and services vary in the amount and types of food they can receive, so mandated food donors may need to establish contracts or written agreements with multiple food recovery organizations and services to be in compliance.

A food distributor, for example, may have a thousand pounds of tomatoes to donate. A food bank may be able to distribute large loads among multiple food pantries throughout a city to distribute to those in need, but a small soup kitchen may not have the facility or resources to transform so many tomatoes into soup or sauce to serve.

Model Food Recovery Agreement

Donor Matching Tools

  • Abound Food Care
  • California Association of Food Banks
  • Careit
  • Copia
  • Food Rescue Hero
  • Food Rescue US
  • MealConnect
  • Replate


The law requires mandated food donors to maintain records of their food donation activities.

Jurisdictions will monitor compliance by requesting the following types of records during inspections:

  • Contract or written agreement information for food recovery organizations and services
  • Schedules for food donation deliveries or collections
  • Quantity of food donated in pounds per month
  • Types of food each food recovery organization and service will receive or collect

CalRecycle has developed a model recordkeeping tool that commercial edible food generators can use to ensure compliance with recordkeeping requirements. The use of this specific tool is optional.

For more information contact: Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP), Organic Waste Methane Emissions Reductions,