Food Safety Protocols

In 2017, approximately 27 million tons of organic waste were disposed of in California, while millions of people were food insecure. Many food businesses are hesitant to donate their surplus edible food out of fear that the recipient may become ill and then they would be held responsible. For this reason, the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act was put in place to protect companies and organizations from criminal and civil liability if donated food later causes harm to the recipient, as long as the food is donated in good faith with the understanding that it is safe for consumption. Businesses must arrange for food to be donated before it spoils and cannot intentionally spoil surplus edible food. Purposefully allowing food to go bad so that it is unfit for donation is not in compliance with SB 1383. 


    • Review the Santa Clara County Protocols for Safe Food Donation for best practices. These protocols are broken down by type of food, including prepared foods, meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, produce, deli foods, bakery and dry grocery foods.

    • More detailed recommendations can also be found in the California Safe Surplus Food Donation Guide

    • CalCode needs to be followed for all food in your possession, whether it’s intended for sale or recovery.

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