Donating prepared, unserved food is legal and protected. Businesses and organizations that donate food in good faith are protected by law and receive a tax deduction.
Help your community and the environment
Donating surplus prepared food helps local hunger-relief agencies serve those in need, including many children and seniors.
In the United States, as much as 40 percent of food produced for people to eat is wasted along the food chain. 11 percent of Minnesotans don’t have a steady supply of food to their tables.
Donating food helps the environment by preventing waste. Wasted food is the most prevalent material in the trash by far, representing about 20 percent of the trash by weight. When food is wasted, the water, energy, fertilizer and cropland that went into producing the food is wasted, too.
You are protected from liability
Businesses and organizations that donate food in good faith to a nonprofit for distribution to needy individuals are not subject to civil or criminal liability that arises from the condition of the food.
Food donors are protected by the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Act, which was passed into federal law in 1996.
Save money on your taxes
The federal tax code allows a deduction for donated food. Eligible businesses can deduct the lesser of either (a) twice the cost of acquiring the donated food or (b) the cost of acquiring the donated food, plus one-half of the food’s expected profit margin, if it were sold at its fair market value.
Contact your tax professional to determine its application to your business.
How to get started
- Review the Food Donation Guidelines brochure for information about keeping food safe, labeling and transporting the donated food.
- Identify the food items you have to donate.
- Find an organization to take your food. A list of organizations which take food is at Hennepin.us/organics.
Hennepin County will assist in finding organizations to take your food and to arrange delivery drivers.
- If you have food that cannot be donated, consider using a food-to-animal or organics composting program.
Food Safety Components
Learn how to keep the food you donate safe in the Food Donation Guidelines brochure.
Use the Food Donation Tracking form when you donate food.
Get recognized for your efforts
Partners that donate edible food receive recognition from Hennepin County: a window decal, a listing in the directory and resources to help you communicate to your customers that you care about the community.
Should you require a reasonable accommodation in order to fully participate, or information in an alternative format, please contact 612-673-2301.
Para asistencia 612-673-2700 - Rau kev pab 612-673-2800 - Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500
Last updated Jan 24, 2018