National Food Waste Reduction & Donation Policies
ZWM encourages the donation of leftover food to help decrease hunger in our county. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were approximately 49,300 Marin residents, 19 percent of the population, living below 200 percent of the federal poverty level in 2014. Find more general information about food recovery tips and opportunities at our food recovery page.
The Offer Versus Serve or OVS provision in the National School Lunch Program is a concept that applies to menu planning and meal service. It is intended to minimize food waste by allowing students to turn down items they do not intend to eat. Five items are offered and only three need to be taken as long as they include a fruit or vegetable.
On November 18, 2011, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act 2012 (Public Law 112-55) created an amendment that provides statutory authority for Child Nutrition Programs (CNPs) and agencies to have food recovery and food donation policies.This statute clarifies that any food prepared for CNPs but not consumed may be donated to “eligible local food banks or charitable organizations.” It also extends protections against civil and criminal liability for persons or organizations when making food donations to the extent provided under the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, found in Section 22 of the Child Nutrition Act.
On September 25, 2017, the Senate passed Senate Bill No. 557 in regards to food sharing, donations, and school meals. Click here to read the bill. Based on this bill, the California Department of Education has posted their Guidance on Donation of Leftover Food in CNPs. It includes providing share tables where food service staff, pupils, and faculty may return appropriate food items and make those food items available to pupils during the course of a regular school meal time. Click here for more information.