Limited Service Charitable Feeding Operation

Effective January 1, 2019, Assembly Bill (AB) 2178 defined a limited service charitable feeding operation (LSCFO) as a nonprofit charitable organization that provides food service to a consumer solely for providing charity and whose food service is limited to any of the following functions:

  1. Storage and distribution of whole, uncut produce, or of prepackaged, nonpotentially hazardous foods in their original manufacturer’s packaging.
  2. Storage or distribution of commercially prepared and commercially packaged potentially hazardous cold or frozen foods for distribution to the consumer.
  3. Reheating or portioning of only commercially prepared foods with no further processing, for purposes of hot holding and no longer than same-day food service to the consumer.
  4. Heating, portioning, or assembly of a small volume of commercially prepared foods or ingredients that are not prepackaged.

Organizations may review the LSCFO Flow Chart to help determine their requirements.

AB 2178 exempts a Limited Service Charitable Food Operation (LSCFO) from the definition of a food facility, as defined in the California Retail Food Code (CalCode), thus providing environmental health departments regulatory flexibility for LSCFOs to serve wholesome food to people that are food insecure.

It also exempts LSCFOs from many requirements of CalCode except for specified general food safety sections.  The goal is to safely utilize the existing infrastructure by limiting the type of food preparation and serving that can occur at a building that does not have a permitted commercial kitchen but would be safe to prepare and serve the foods in a limited fashion.  The operation must comply with best management practices approved by the County of Santa Clara Department of Environmental Health.  LSCFOs may qualify for and obtain a registration (or be exempt from registration) in lieu of an Environmental Health permit. 

AB 1219:  California Good Samaritan Food Donation Act

AB 1219 became effective on January 1, 2018.  It expanded liability protection for food donations. The law also provides clarity by creating a more comprehensive list of entities covered by the law and explicitly stating that the donation of foods beyond their recommended labeled shelf life date is subject to liability protection.  Individuals can donate pre-packaged, manufactured food products (such as canned food items) to a food bank or other nonprofit charitable organization for them to distribute to persons free of charge.

If you have any feedback or concerns regarding the LSCFO program, please contact the Department.
Phone:  408-918-3400
Email:  [email protected]                                        


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