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Local Education Agency Donation Information works best in modern browsers like Firefox, Safari, Chrome, or Internet Explorer 8. All are free to download and will greatly improve your internet experience. Reducing and recycling organic waste is a top priority for Californians and us here in Santa Barbara County. Cutting back on food waste and putting the correct materials in our green containers are important ways to divert waste from the landfill. Learn more about green container programs in your area, backyard composting, food waste reduction, and other ways to reduce or recycle organic waste in this section. Businesses should also get involved!

We created this page to keep the most up-to-date information on all thing schools and food donation. We understand that the regulations are confusing. We hope these resources below can help.

SB 1383 states that schools must donate surplus food to food recovery organizations. Schools must have an edible food recovery program in place by January 1, 2024.

This is a state mandated law and does not conflict with any other food service regulations set forth by the California Department of Education or the United State Department of Agriculture. Both the CDE and USDA have regulations that allow for food donations to 501(c)3 non-profits.

Important reminders as it pertains to regulations by the CDE and USDA:

  • A local educational agency (LEA) can provide sharing tables where food service staff, pupils, and faculty may return appropriate food items consistent with California Retail Food Code (CalCode) and make those food items available during the course of a regular school meal time.
  • Donations of food or food made available to pupils during the course of a regular school meal time may include prepackaged, nonpotentially hazardous food with the packaging still intact and in good condition, whole uncut produce that complies with the CalCode, unopened bags of sliced fruit, unopened containers of milk that are immediately stored in a cooling bin maintained at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below, and perishable prepackaged food (if it is placed in a proper temperature-controlled environment).
  • All food donated must be consistent with CalCode and all local food safety regulations.
  • Leftover food that is donated to a nonprofit charitable organization cannot be claimed for meal reimbursement.
  • CACFP day care home providers are not permitted to donate leftover foods.

Schools are allowed to donate food provided to them for free by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Child Nutrition Programs. US Code Chapter 13, Section 1758(l)(1) states, “Each school and local educational agency participating in the school lunch program under this chapter may donate any food not consumed under such program to eligible local food banks or charitable organizations.” For additional information, please see this bulletin originally posted by California Department of Education. Note that the Child Nutrition Program is now managed by California Department of Social Services.

Remember, only edible food that would otherwise be disposed must be recovered. Nothing in SB 1383’s edible food recovery regulations prohibits a commercial edible food generator from giving their surplus food to clients or employees. However, if the food would otherwise be disposed, then it must be recovered by a food recovery organization or a food recovery service. You may need to confirm this with your employee's unions and your food provider. Some food providers have stricter standards.