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Donate food to charity

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If you have surplus, edible food you can donate it to a food charity. Food distribution charities will collect the food from your business and distribute it to those in need.

The demand for food donation services is increasing every year, with more than 18,500 meals now being distributed each day by food agencies in NSW. Food agencies estimate that 34 per cent more food is needed to meet the current demand (PDF 2.8MB).

The NSW Environment Protection Authority's (NSW EPA) Waste Less Recycle More encourages food donation by providing funding for infrastructure like fridges, freezers and refrigerated vans to collect, store and distribute edible food to people in need.

Donating your surplus food to a charity is easy, practical and free. As well as contributing to an essential service for those in need, it keeps good food out of landfill. Food donation could also benefit your organisation's reputation, demonstrating your commitment to environmental and social sustainability.

Which charity should we donate to?

The Love Food Hate Waste Food Donation Tool Kit (PDF 3MB) provides information about how to donate food and helps you identify which charity to donate your food to.

Organising a collection is easy. If necessary, consider establishing a formal, ongoing arrangement. Many charities, large and small, may be involved in food collection and distribution in your local area. Contact your local council to see if they can help you find a local food collection charity. Or, these organisations may be able to help:

The NSW EPA has also funded other organisations through Waste Less Recycle More to implement food donation initiatives in their area. A list of these organisations can be found on the NSW EPA website.


Is it legal to donate food?

Food donations are subject to the requirements of the NSW Food Authority.


Food donor's liability

The protection of food donors is covered under the Civil Liability Amendment (Food Donations) Act 2002. The act limits the liability of individuals and businesses that donate food, providing certain food safety conditions have been met.

As the NSW Food Authority advises, food donors must ensure that:

  • The food is donated in good faith for a charitable or benevolent purpose.
  • The food is donated with the intention that the receiver of food does not have to pay for the food.
  • The food is safe to eat when it leaves the possession or control of the donor.
  • The donor gives the charity any information it needs to ensure the ongoing safety of the food.

For more information on donating surplus food download the Food Donation Tool Kit (PDF 3MB).


Charities and community organisations' liability

Charities and community organisations who receive and distribute donated food to their clients receive similar protection from civil liability under the laws of New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania.

In addition to ensuring that all donated food is fit for human consumption and maintained in that condition, charities may wish to consider other risk management solutions, such as insurance, to reduce the risk or effect of this potential liability.


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