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Are donors liable for the food they donate?

If the food is fit for human consumption and is donated in good faith to nonprofits or individuals, then donors are protected from liability as established in the California Good Samaritan Act. Read more about laws protecting donors here.

Watch this video from a similar program in Orange County that details the state laws and echoes the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department’s desire to support food recovery efforts.

What kind of food may be donated?

Food that is fit for human consumption, including:

  • prepared food from catering companies, restaurants, and cafeterias Please safely cool hot prepared food before donating
  • whole fruits and vegetables
  • uncooked meat
  • dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • canned, bottled, or packaged dried goods such as beans, tomatoes, and rice
  • baked goods such as pastries, desserts, or bread

Why donate surplus food?

  • When food is wasted, money is wasted.
  • Receive federal tax incentives for donated food.
  • Reduce the cost to haul away food waste.
  • Feed community members in need.
  • Increase community engagement and positive publicity.
  • Divert waste from landfills.
  • Comply with SB 1383 and AB 1826.
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