Edible Food Recovery Program for Watsonville Commercial Business

EPA Food Recovery Hierarchy

This website provides information to Watsonville Commercial Businesses about Food Recovery. Food rescue is the right thing to do to feed people in need and to reduce waste. Food Recovery is a California mandate for certain larger food generators listed below.

What is the Food Recovery component of SB 1383?

The State of California requires certain food-generating businesses to donate the maximum amount of their surplus edible food to food recovery organizations, feeding people in need. This California mandate that starts in 2022 aims to reduce and recover at least 20% of the food currently being thrown into landfills by 2025.

Why Recover Excess Food?

Food recovery means collecting edible food that would otherwise go to waste and redistributing it to feed people in need. Recovering food helps:

  • Feed Hungry People: 38 million people were food insecure as of 2020, and in California alone, 1 in 4 people don’t know where their next meal will come from.
  • Fight Climate Change: 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from methane released from food decomposing in landfills.
  • Reduce Food Waste: 30-40% of food is wasted in the United States each year, and each year Californians send 11.2 billion pounds of food (some of which is still edible) into landfills.

Which Food Generators are affected by SB 1383 Food Recovery Rules?

SB 1383 divides food generators into two tiers to allow businesses and local jurisdictions more time to increase donation capacity and food recovery infrastructure. If your business does not meet any of these criteria, then you are exempt from donating food as mandated by SB 1383, though, you are still strongly encouraged to.

SB 1383 Edible Food Generators

Food Recovery Organizations in Watsonville

Every business that meets the standards above will need to donate any surplus food to a food recovery organization.

These are the Food Recovery Organizations in Watsonville.

Food Recovery Safety

The Good Samaritan Food Donation Act protects companies and organizations from liability if donated food causes harm to the recipient after consumption. So long as the food is donated in good faith with the understanding that it is safe to eat, the donor will not be at fault. However, businesses must practice food safety standards and arrange for food to be donated before it spoils and cannot intentionally spoil surplus edible food. Be sure to coordinate with your food recovery organization(s) to find out what they deem fit for donation, as they are not required to accept all donations. 

Here is CalRecycle's Safe Surplus Food Donation Guide

Written Agreement with Food Recovery Organization

Each business will need to sign a written agreement/contract with the food recovery organization(s) or service(s) receiving their surplus edible food. Your food recovery organization or service may already have an agreement or contract template they prefer to use. If needed, coordinate with the food recovery organization(s) receiving your donations to confirm the template is one you can use.

Here is a Sample Food Recovery Agreement [PDF] [Word Document]

Businesses must sign a contract with each food recovery organization or service that picks up their surplus edible food by January 1, 2022 for Tier One Businesses, and by January 1, 2024 for Tier Two Businesses.

Keeping Track of and Reporting Food Recovery Progress

Beginning January 1, 2022, Tier One Businesses will need to start keeping track of their food recovery efforts, and Tier Two Businesses will need to begin on January 1, 2024. Food generators must record and report the: name, contact, food recovery organizations you work with, and pounds donated annually. The County of Santa Cruz and the City of Watsonville will monitor food recovery efforts to ensure compliance.

For more information on recordkeeping and reporting requirements, here is CalRecycle’s Model Recordkeeping Tool [Excel], and City of Watsonville's Food Recovery Tracking, Monitoring, and Recovery information.

SB 1383 is California’s next step towards making our community and the planet a more equitable place, and this can only be achieved together. For more information about the mandate, please visit CalRecycle's Food Recovery Page. For any other questions call (831) 768-3133 or email food.scrap@cityofwatsonville.org.

Food Donation