The city says using excess food to feed hungry people is the preferred option for “organic diversion,” and lists resources for restaurants that want to donate their excess food to soup kitchens or pantries. (“Worried about your liability?Don’t be!” the website states. “The Good Samaritan Food Donation Act encourages companies and organizations to donate healthy food that would otherwise go to waste by protecting them from criminal and civil liability.”)


I see this in action every week at the local food bank where I volunteer; we’re able to provide frozen, single-serving meals to people made up of excess food donated from restaurants and grocery stores. Some days, that’s lasagna from a grocery store’s hot bar, or extra soup du jour that a café didn’t use. For people with limited cooking abilities, these microwave-and-done meals are especially in demand.

No doubt there will be some logistical speed bumps ahead as restaurants and grocery stores adjust to the new requirements, but businesses will get a little help in the form of tax incentives. If they don’t comply, businesses face up to a $2,000 fine each day.