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Save The Food San Diego

Save The Food San Diego is a county-wide food waste awareness partnership that leverages the national "Save The Food" public service campaign, a partnership between NRDC and the Ad Council.    Contact: Geertje Grootenhuis    geertje@sdfsa.org           SaveTheFood.com


This initiative is supported by an anonymous donor fund via The San Diego Foundation. The San Diego Foundation improves the quality of life in all of our communities by providing leadership for effective philanthropy that builds enduring assets and by promoting community solutions through research, convenings and actions that advance the common good.

Check out the Save The Food San Diego one-pager, Background and Partnership Scope, and resource links below for more information.

Resources for Participating Organizations

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Best Management

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Case Studies

Case Study Template – Save The Food San Diego Case study & best practice updates here, and during in-person and webinar presentations. 



Liability Protection

California Good Samaritan Food Donation Act (AB 1219) clarifies and strengthens the laws that protect food donors, extends protections, and requires Environmental Health Officers to promote the food recovery by highlighting the laws which exist to protect food donors. 

Under the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, as long as the donor has not acted with negligence or intentional misconduct, the company is not liable for damage incurred as the result of illness.

The U.S. Federal Food Donation Act of 2008 specifies procurement contract language encouraging Federal agencies and contractors of Federal agencies to donate excess wholesome food to eligible nonprofit organizations to feed food-insecure people in the United States.


Awards & Recognition

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Date Labeling

AB 954 - CA Food Labeling: Quality and Safety Dates AB 954 requires the California Department of Food & Agriculture to promote the widespread use of uniform phrases: “BEST if Used by” or “BEST if Used or Frozen by” to indicate food freshness, and “Use by” or Use or Freeze by” to indicate food safety. 

Voluntary – Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association The industry-wide effort will help reduce consumer confusion over dates on the product label and potentially help consumers avoid unnecessary food waste. 

USDA Guidance on Date Labeling to Reduce Food Waste issued updated information on food product labeling, including new guidance aimed at reducing food waste through encouraging food manufacturers and retailers that apply product dating to use a “Best if Used By” date label.


Campaign Updates


Tax Incentives & Laws

Internal Revenue Code 170(e)(3) and the Federal – Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act provide enhanced tax deductions to corporations and small businesses to encourage donations of food to qualified nonprofit organizations serving the poor and needy. 

California AB 1826  Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling requires the state’s commercial sector, including restaurants, supermarkets, large venues and food processors, to separate their food scraps and yard trimmings and arrange for organics recycling service. 

California SB 1383  Short-Lived Climate Pollutants: Organic Waste Methane Emissions establishes food waste reduction targets in a statewide effort to reduce short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP). The law also establishes a target that not less than 20 percent of disposed edible food is recovered for human consumption.

Why Save The Food San Diego now?

In San Diego County 500,000 people live in poverty; at the same time about 500,000 tons of food is wasted every year. Across the United States 40% of food is wasted. This translates to $162 billion lost in wasted water, energy, fertilizers, cropland, and production costs (ReFed 2016). 

Food waste is a national issue which affects San Diego County in a distinct manner. Recent California legislation, AB 1826 and SB 1383, require progressively less food waste to landfill and increased donation of wholesome, edible food from businesses and from residents. 

Although planning efforts are underway, in San Diego County there are not yet robust systems in place to compost or digest food waste. This creates a timely and unique opportunity to work on source reduction and donation as priority first steps before new infrastructure and systems are realized---which is a preferred strategy that addresses highest and best use of materials, waste reduction, economic development, and hunger in our communities.

Additional Resources