Who can donate?
Each year, an estimated 52.4 million tons of food is sent to the landfill from retail, hospitality and consumers. Permitted food facilities such as restaurants, caterers, grocery stores, distributors, wholesale operations, food service operators at hospitals, schools, universities and other businesses can donate prepared foods and meals that remained in the ‘back-of-house’, packaged foods, fresh and frozen foods. Individuals can donate uncooked, packaged food products or fresh gleaned or harvest fruits and vegetables. Foods that have been previously served to a consumer cannot be donated.
Forms for food donors:
Donating for the first time
What is food insecurity?
According to the USDA, the defining characteristics of low food secure households are that during certain times of the year, the food supply is reduced, impacting normal eating patterns. Such disruptions might include economic issues, but can also be attributed to a variety of unrelated reasons. It means having to make a choice between paying bills and buying food or paying for auto repairs and having access to nutritious, culturally appropriate food. In Ventura County, 1 in 6 households report some level of food insecurity.
Donating food will help reduce food insecurity in your community. Your donation can support the work on many local nonprofit pantries that directly serve your neighbors who face tough choices between a healthy meal and other basic needs. There are now mandatory laws which require businesses that generate a certain amount of organic waste to implement a strategy to prevent that waste from going to the landfill. Organic waste in the landfill contributes to the production of methane gas, a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
There are enhanced tax deductions for eligible donations. And, by better managing your food waste, you can reduce operating costs. You can join the Waste-Free Ventura County Coalition to eliminate food waste and end hunger.
The FDA does not regulate food labels such as ‘sell by,’ ‘use by,’ or ‘best-by.’ These dates do not indicate food safety – they instead, refer to the products freshness or quality. In California, only infant formula and baby food has restrictions. Otherwise, there are no restrictions on items past the date indicated on the label. However, regardless of the date, it is important that the food being donated appears, in good faith, to be wholesome, harmless and fit for human consumption.