Edible Food Recovery

Food recovery means collecting edible food that would otherwise go to waste and redistributing it to feed people in need. This is the highest and best use for food that would otherwise go to waste. Feeding hungry people through food recovery is the best use for surplus food and a vital way for California to conserve resources and reduce waste thrown in landfills. SB 1383 requires certain food businesses to donate the maximum amount of edible food they would other wise dispose, to food recovery organizations.

Senate Bill 1383 and Food Recovery

To reduce food waste and help address food insecurity, SB 1383 requires that by 2025 California will recover 20 percent of edible food that would otherwise be sent to landfills, to feed people in need. The law directs the following:

  • Jurisdictions must establish food recovery programs and strengthen their existing food recovery networks
  • Food donors must arrange to recover the maximum amount of their edible food that would otherwise go to landfills
  • Food recovery organizations/services and food generators that participate in SB 1383 must maintain records

Edible food means food intended for people to eat, including food not sold because of:

  • Appearance
  • Age
  • Freshness
  • Grade
  • Size
  • Surplus

Edible food includes but is not limited to:

  • Prepared foods
  • Packaged foods
  • Produce

Food Generators and Edible Food Recovery

SB 1383 requires all Tier 1 and Tier 2 food generators to donate the maximum amount of edible food that would have otherwise been sent to landfills to a food organization/service.

What is a Food Recovery Organization/Service?

SB 1383 requires Tier 1 and Tier 2 food generators to donate their excess edible food to a local food recovery organization/service, which includes, but is not limited to:

  • Food banks
  • Food pantries
  • Soup kitchens
  • Other non-profits that distribute food to people in need
  • Food runners
  • For-profit food recovery services

All food donations must meet the food safety requirements of the California Retail Food Code. For more information on safe surplus food donation and food safety, please visit the California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health website.

The City of Ceres Public Works Department has programs to assist both food generators and food recovery organizations with compliance.  

Food Recovery

More Information

Web Resources

Tier 1 Food Generators:

Deadline for compliance - January 1, 2022
  • Supermarkets/Grocery Stores -Supermarkets are retail stores with gross annual sales of 2 million dollars or more. Grocery stores are 10,000 square feet or more in size that is 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.
  • Food Service Providers- 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 Distributors- A company that distributes food to entities including, but not limited to, supermarkets and grocery stores.
  • Wholesale Food Vendors - A business engaged in the wholesale distribution of food. Where the food is received, shipped, stored, prepared for distribution to a retailer, warehouse, distributor, or other destination.

Tier 2 Food Generators

Deadline for compliance-January 1, 2024
  • Restaurants -With 250 or more seats, or a total facility size equal to or greater than 5,000 square feet.
  • Health Facilities - Health facility with an onsite food facility and 100 or more beds.
  • Hotels - Hotels with an on-site food facility and 200 or more rooms.
  • Large Venues- Large venue means a permanent venue facility that annually seats or serves an average of more than 2,000 individuals per day operation of the event, at the location that includes, but is not limited to, a public, nonprofit or privately-owned park, parking lot, golf course, street system, or other open space when being used for an event.
  • Large Event - Events that charge an admission price and serves an average of 2,000+ individuals per day of operation of the event.
  • State Agencies- 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 Agencies- A local education agency with an on-site food facility. Local education agency means a school district, charter school, or county office of education that is not subject to the control of city or county regulations.
Edible food recovery generator image

What Tier 1 and Tier 2 Food Generators must do to comply with the law

Tier 1 and tier 2 food generators must donate the maximum amount of edible food to a food recovery organization as well as:

  • Establish contracts or written agreements with food recovery organization/service
  • Both food generator and food organization/service must keep a record of the following:
    • Name and contact information of the food recovery organization/service accepting food donation
    • Types of food being donated
    • Frequency of food being donated
    • Quantity of food being donated measured in pounds and recovered per month
  • These records are required to be made available at the store location during inspection