Food donations

We share information for businesses and organizations that want to donate food.

Donating food

Donating prepared, unserved food is legal.

Businesses and organizations that donate food in good faith are protected by law and receive a tax deduction.

Food Donation Guidelines brochure

Food Donation Tracking form

If you have food to donate

The unprecedented closure of dine-in food service has some businesses looking for ways to donate food before it spoils. Two programs collecting perishable are Minnesota Central Kitchen and Second Harvest Heartland's Meal Connect. 

If you have food that cannot be donated, consider using a Hennepin County organics  program such as food-to-animal or organics composting.

Hennepin County organics recycling for businesses

Minnesota Central Kitchen

Minnesota Central Kitchen is an initiative of Second Harvest Heartland. The partnership feeds community members who are experiencing hunger.

  • Food operators with perishable product to donate should visit You will be asked to create an account and post your product as a donation. Meal Connect has transportation logistics in place to collect and deliver food to a partner kitchen.
  • Food service professionals who want to volunteer their time and cooking expertise should email
  • Businesses that want to donate packaging, cleaning/sanitizing supplies and other non-food items should email

Donating meals for kids

Is your restaurant offering free meals for kids during COVID-19? Submit your information to the Hunger Solutions map of meals for kids.

When you donate

Protection from liability

Businesses and organizations that donate food in good faith to a nonprofit for distribution to needy individuals are not subject to civil or criminal liability that arises from the condition of the food.

Food donors are protected by the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Act, which was passed into federal law in 1996.

Save money on your taxes

The federal tax code allows a deduction for donated food. Eligible businesses can deduct the lesser of either:

  • (a) Twice the cost of acquiring the donated food, or
  • (b) The cost of acquiring the donated food, plus one-half of the food’s expected profit margin, if it were sold at its fair market value.

Contact your tax professional to determine its application to your business.

Help your community and the environment

Donating surplus prepared food helps local hunger-relief agencies serve those in need, including many children and seniors.

In the United States, as much as 40 percent of food produced for people to eat is wasted along the food chain. Eleven percent of Minnesotans don’t have a steady supply of food to their tables.

Food safety

Learn how to keep the food you donate safe in the food donation guidelines brochure.

Food donation brochure

Visit Food Safety for more food safety resources.

Request accessible format

If you need help with this information, please email 311, or call 311 or 612-673-3000.

Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Contact us

Health Department

Environmental Health




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