Food donations

Save money and help your community by giving away extra food.


18% of Minneapolis residents don’t have access to enough food or affordable food. When your business donates food, you save money and help the community and environment.

See benefits to your business

We explain how to:

  • Donate food to people
  • Donate food to animals
  • Stay protected from liability
  • Donate food safely

Get started

Benefits to your business

Save money

On your taxes

On your garbage bill

  • Everything that leaves your business as garbage is taxed extra fees. There is no state solid waste tax or county solid waste fee on recycling or organics.

Help your community and the environment

Donating extra food helps local hunger-relief agencies serve those in need.

In the U.S., as much as 40% of food made for people to eat is wasted.

How to donate

We explain how to get started and how to donate safely.

Donate food to people

Feeding America has a food rescue app called Meal Connect. Meal Connect makes it easy to donate your extra food to people in need.

Read about Meal Connect and download the app

Donate food to animals

You can partner with a local farmer to have your scraps picked up and turned into animal feed.

Contact Barthold Farms

Protection from liability

The Food Donation Improvement Act (FDIA) protects you when donating food. Businesses that donate food in good faith:

  • Are not liable for the condition of the food
  • Must donate to a nonprofit for distribution to people in need

Watch FDIA liability protection videos

Donating safely

The Minnesota Food Code applies to all donated food.

Temperature requirements

Many donated foods must meet temperature requirements. This food is called temperature control for safety (TCS) food.

Examples of TCS foods:

  • Cut tomatoes or melons
  • Dairy products
  • Meats
  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Most cooked food
  • Cut leafy greens

Hot and cold food temperatures

  • Keep hot TCS food at 135°F or above.
  • Keep cold TCS food at 41°F or below.
  • You must maintain these temperatures through delivery of food.

Cooling hot foods

When you cool hot foods, you must meet both of these timelines:

  • Cool from 135°F to 71°F  in less than two hours, and
  • Cool to 41°F or below in no more than six hours


Labeling food

Follow labeling requirements for:

  • Food in its original package
  • Food prepared as a meal

Food in its original package

Labels on donated commercially prepackaged food must clearly show:

  • Name of the item or food
  • Manufacturer information
  • List of ingredients
  • Use-by date if included

Labels must also contain this statement: Donated food - not for resale.

Food prepared as a meal

Label donated prepared food on the outside of the container with:

  • Food name
  • Food donor
  • Preparation date

Example: Lasagna prepared 2/12/24, from ABC Restaurant, 123 Food Street

You do not need to label each individual item.


Prevent Wasted Food in Minneapolis: Donating Prepared Food

Nearly one in five Minneapolis residents do not have consistent access to healthy, affordable food. A great way for restaurants to prevent food waste is to donate unused prepared food that meets safety guidelines to a food bank or shelf

Video available in three languages

Person looking at laptop in coffee shop

Get help from Hennepin County

The County offers free technical help and grants to businesses. Learn how to reduce wasted food, donate food and compost with organics recycling.

Contact us

Minneapolis Health Department




Public Service Building
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 520
Minneapolis, MN 55415