Every time I eat at a restaurant, I can’t help but think of all the food that could possibly go to waste in a day. This got me wondering—do restaurants actually donate food, want to donate food or even know how to donate food? Does all this good food end up in a landfill? With a little bit of research, I found out that it is possible but sadly, there aren’t many restaurants participating in these programs.

In an article by David Lazarus in the LA Times, regarding an Orange County program that makes donating leftover food easier, there was a quote by a restaurant owner that really caught my attention.

Most of us live by the credo ‘When in doubt, throw it out,'” said Mike Learakos, owner of Katella Grill in Orange. “There’s a big fear of liability if you donate leftover food.

It became known to me in the article above and another article, Restaurants Officially Have No Excuse Not To Donate Leftover Food by Eleanor Goldberg of the Huffpost that there really is a huge fear among many restaurant owners of getting sued by the recipient if they get sick. Well, it’s great to know that this stigma is not true.

Restaurants Are Protected When Donating Restaurant Leftovers

Within both of these articles, I learned that there is a federal law that protects food donors from being sued in case of any issues regarding recipients getting sick or hurt from ingested food. It’s called the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act and it was passed by President Clinton on October 1, 1996.   The law protects good faith food donors from civil and criminal liability that later causes harm to the recipient. The law protects food donors, including individuals and non-profit feeding programs.

According to HuffPost, a single restaurant in the U.S. wastes about a whopping 100,000 pounds of food a year. Yup. I bet you would agree that it’s a pretty big number. Well, in hopes of encouraging restaurant owners to donate any excess food, I have made it easy and created a list of organizations that provide details on how to become a donor.


There are so many people in our communities, adults and children alike, that are starving because for one way or another cannot afford to buy food. Donating your restaurant leftovers is definitely a way to give back. Start donating today!


Have you donated any leftover food yet? Comment below on your experience with the donation process.

Pin It on Pinterest