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Do allergens need to be handled in a specific way?

Foods containing common food allergens can be donated, following standard procedures. We recommend including an allergen list on food products, but it is not required in order to be donated.

Nonprofits distributing food without allergen lists are responsible for disclosing that the food may contain allergens, or have been prepared, stored, or transported near foods containing allergens. Nonprofits should recommend not consuming the food if an individual has allergens.

What if the product is past its sell-by or expiration date?

Expiration and sell-by labels indicate when an item is past peak quality. This has little impact on the safety of consuming that item.* If a product has no visible decay, and is still wholesome and fit for consumption, then it is perfectly fine to donate.

*Baby food/formula are the only products that can not be donated past the sell-by date.

What can I do with inedible food scraps?

Contact your local solid waste representative about food scraps collection.

City of Buellton Rose Hess
[email protected]
(805) 688-5177
MarBorg Industries
Sarah Stark
[email protected]
City of Carpinteria Erin Maker
[email protected]
(805) 880-3415
EJ Harrison & Sons
City of Goleta Michael Winnewisser
[email protected]
(805) 690-5120
MarBorg Industries
Sarah Stark
[email protected]
City of Lompoc Adam Spaulding
[email protected]
(805) 875-8027
City of Lompoc
City of Santa Barbara Dan Rowell
[email protected]
(805) 564-5691
MarBorg Industries
Sarah Stark
[email protected]
City of Santa Maria Herb Cantu
[email protected]
(805) 925-0951 ext. 7212
City of Santa Maria
City of Solvang Bridget Elliott
[email protected]
(805) 688-5575
Waste Management
County of Santa Barbara Kaitlyn Haberlin
[email protected]
(805) 882-3603
South County – MarBorg Industries
Sarah Stark
[email protected]
North County – Waste Management

What are AB 1826 and SB 1383 and how do they affect donors?

Beginning January 1, 2019, AB 1826 requires businesses that generate four+ cubic yards of solid waste per week to establish an organic waste recycling program. SB 1383 establishes guidelines for organic waste reduction and edible food recovery targets for businesses. Donation of surplus food is one way to comply with AB 1826 and SB 1383. Read more about these laws and how they affect donors here.

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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