Edible Food Recovery for Businesses


California lawmakers recently introduced Senate Bill 1383 to combat the 5-6 million tons of food that are discarded in the state each year.

SB 1383 has two aspects: organic waste recycling for all residents and businesses, and 20% reduction in disposed edible food by 2025.

The Senate Bill categorizes food generators into Tier 1 or Tier 2. 

Tier 1 food donations must begin January 1, 2022. 

Tier 1 generators include:

  • supermarkets with revenue > $2 million
  • grocery stores with facilities > 10,000 sq. ft.
  • food service providers
  • food distributors
  • wholesale food vendors

Tier 2 generators must begin food donations by January 1, 2024.

Tier 2 generators include:

  • hotels
  • state agency cafeterias
  • large venues and events
  • local education agencies
  • health and restaurant facilities


In order to comply, businesses must:

1. Recover excess edible food: SB 1383 does not require all excess edible food to be donated. It does however, state the following for Tier 1 and Tier 2 edible food generators:

  • Shall not intentionally spoil edible food that is capable of being recovered by a food recovery organization or service
  • May give away excess food to employees, take it home for personal use, give it away to customers, etc.
  • Must recover (for human consumption) the maximum amount of edible food that would otherwise be disposed of. This can be accomplished by donating or paying for the food to be recovered by a food recovery organization or service, such as food banks, food pantries, non-profits, or other entities that distribute food to people in need.

2. Establish contracts or written agreements: Tier 1 and Tier 2 generators must 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 edible food generators may need to establish contracts or written agreements with multiple food recovery organizations and services to be in compliance. Contracts can include the establishment of a regular edible food delivery or collection schedule, identifying allowable edible foods for recovery, and cost-sharing options.

3. Maintain Recordkeeping: Tier 1 and Tier 2 edible food generators must maintain records of their food recovery activities. This recordkeeping includes the following:

  • A list of each food recovery service or organization that collects or receives its edible food under a contract or written agreement
  • A copy of contracts or written agreements between the edible food generator and a food recovery service or organization
  • For each food recovery organization or service that the Tier 1 and Tier 2 edible food generators has a contract or written agreement with, records must be kept of:
    • The name, address and contact information of the service or organization
    • The types of food that will be collected by or self-hauled to the service organization
    • The established frequency that food will be collected or self-hauled
    • The quantity of food collected or self-hauled to a service or organization for food recovery. The quantity shall be measured in pounds recovered per month

Monitoring for compliance

Edible food generators are subject to inspections by the City of Lakewood to monitor compliance with the edible food recovery requirements set forth above. Inspections will review: contracts or written agreements between food generators and food recovery partners, schedules for food recovery deliveries, quantity of food recovered (lbs/month), and types of food each recovery organization will receive. Non-compliant generators will be notified of violations and provided educational materials to help them become compliant. Beginning January 1, 2024, all edible food generators will be subject to fines for non-compliance.

Please view the brochure if you are interested in learning more about Edible Food Donation requirements.(PDF, 7MB)


How do I make a food donation?

For information on how to get started making food donations, please view the PDF on SB 1383. 

What is considered “Edible Food”?

Edible food is food intended for human consumption that can be safely recovered and must meet food safety requirements of the California Retail Food Code.

Will I be responsible if someone gets sick from my food donation?

Businesses are covered by the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Donation Act. The law protects good-faith food donors from civil and criminal liability, should the product later cause harm to its recipient.

Additional resources are available at the links below:

CalRecycle has developed a Model Food Recovery Agreement that can be used as an example for contracts developed between food generators and recovery organizations- CalRecycle Implementation Tools- Model Food Recovery Agreement

LA County has a program to facilitate the process of food recovery with a toolkit. The toolkit provides: information on state legislation, organic waste diversion and food donation; LA County Department of Public Health Food Safety Guidelines; an interactive map of food recovery partners; and a tracking form for recovering food donations-  FoodDROP County of Los Angeles