Food Recovery Program


In Ventura County, one in six residents do not know where their next meal will come from. Meanwhile, Californians send 11.2 billion pounds of food to landfills each year. When food, or other organic material is sent to the landfill, it produces methane, which is a powerful greenhouse gas and is 80% stronger than carbon dioxide as a warming agent in our atmosphere. Some of the food sent to our landfills could have been recovered and to feed hungry people. 

Not only is recovering edible food for donation a win-win for our environment and our community., it is also a law. SB 1383 requires that by 2025 California will recover 20% of edible food statewide that would otherwise be sent to landfills in order to feed hungry people. SB 1383 directs that:

  • Jurisdictions establish food recovery programs and strengthen existing recovery networks.
  • Edible food generators, who qualify as Tier 1 and Tier 2 Generators (see definitions below) are required to recover the maximum amount of edible food.
  • Food recovery organizations and services that participate in SB 1383 must maintain records.


Edible food is food intended for people to eat, including food not sold because of appearance, age freshness, grade, size, and surplus. Edible food includes, but is not limited to produce, packaged foods, and prepared food, which has been kept within safe temperature zones and not served or placed for a buffet. 

Edible Food Generators are mandated by SB1383 to recover and donate the maximum amount of food for human consumption. Generators are divided into the following two categories:

  • Tier 1 Edible Food Generators are required to comply with SB 1383 edible food donation requirements by January 1, 2022, and include the following businesses:
    • Wholesale Food Vendors
    • Food Distributors 
    • Food Service Providers
    • Supermarkets
    • Grocery Stores 
  • Tier 2 Edible Food Generators are required to comply with SB 1383 edible food donation requirements by January 1, 2024, and include the following businesses:
    • Hotels with on-sIte food facilities and 200+ rooms
    • Restaurants with > 5000 sq. ft. or 250+ seats
    • Health Facilities with on-sIte food facilities and 100+ beds
    • State Agency Cafeterias
    • Large Venues and Events
    • Local Education Agencies

Commercial Edible Food Generators

  1. About Food Recovery Organizations and Services
  2. List of Local Food Recovery Organizations and Services

A food recovery organization is an entity that engages in the collection or receipt of edible food from commercial edible food generators and distributes that edible food to the public for food recovery. A food recovery organization can include a food bank, a nonprofit charitable organization, and a charitable temporary food facility. 

A food recovery service means a person or entity that collects and transports edible food from a commercial edible food generator to a food recovery organization or other entity for food recovery. 

Ventura County is currently undergoing a Edible Food Recovery Capacity Study. More information about local food recovery organizations and services will be available in May 2022.

Donor Liability Information

The following laws provide donor liability protection:

  • United States Code, Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, Title 42, Chapter 13A, Section 1791 (c)(1): A person or gleaner shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability arising from the nature, age, packaging, or condition of apparently wholesome food or an apparently fit grocery product that the person or gleaner donates in goodfaith to a nonprofit organization for ultimate distribution to needy individuals. This section shall not be construed to create any liability. Nothing in this section shall be construed to supercede State or local health regulations.  
  • California Health and Safety Code, Section 114432: Any food facility may donate food to a food bank or to any other nonprofit charitable organization for distribution to persons free of charge.
  • California Health and Safety Code, Section 114433: No food facility that donates food as permitted by Section 114432 shall be subject to civil or criminal liability or penalty for violation of any laws, regulations, or ordinances regulating the labeling or packaging of the donated product or, with respect to any laws, regulations, or ordinances, for a violation occurring after the time of donation.
  • California Civil Code, Section 1714.25(a): 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 for any damage or injury resulting from the consumption of the donated food. The immunity from civil liability provided by this subdivision applies regardless of compliance with any laws, regulations, or ordinances regulating the packaging or labeling of food, and regardless of compliance with any laws, regulations, or ordinances regulating the storage or handling of the food by the donee after the donation of food.


  1. Environmental Sustainability