Food Recovery

California has a 2025 goal to redirect to people in need 20% of edible food currently thrown away. All jurisdictions in the state are required to establish food recovery programs and strengthen any existing food recovery networks.

Food Recovery banner

What is edible food?

Edible food is food intended for people to eat, including prepared foods, packaged foods. produce and food not sold because of appearance, age, freshness, grade, or surplus.

Why edible food recovery?

  • Addresses the local food insecurity crisis by making edible food available to people in need of nourishment.
  • Slows down the impacts of climate change by keeping organics out of landfills, which results in the release of methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide (CO2).
Food Recovery Hierarchy
Edible Food Generators

What is required from Tier 1/Tier 2 Commercial Food Generators?

Recover Excess Edible Food

Recover (for human consumption) the maximum amount of edible food that would otherwise be disposed of. 

Establish contracts or written agreements with food recovery organizations and services

Donate, arrange, or pay for the food to be recovered by a food recovery organization or service.

Maintain Recordkeeping

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

What is required from Food recovery Services and Organizations?

Food Recovery Services collect and transport edible food from Tier 1/Tier 2 Commercial Food Generators to food recovery organizations. 

Food Recovery Organizations include food banks and nonprofits that engage in the collection or receipt of edible food from Tier 1/Tier 2 Commercial Food Generators and distributes that food to the public.

Establish contracts or written agreements with commercial food generators

Maintain Recordkeeping 

  • Quantity donated in pounds per calendar year from each commercial food generator
  • Report to the jurisdiction where company's primary address is physically located

Food Waste Prevention

Source Reduction or Food Waste Prevention is the most preferred method of the food recovery hierarchy. Below are some resources to help businesses reduce food waste.