Charitable Feeding Operations
On January 1, 2019, Assembly Bill 2178 California Retail Food Code (CRFC): Limited Service Charitable Feeding Operation (LSCFO) went into effect. The bill amended the California Retail Food Code (CRFC) to provide regulatory flexibility for LSCFOs to serve wholesome food to those who are food insecure, with a primary focus on food safety. It provides for varying levels of food service requirements, including a registration option for LSCFOs conducting minimal food service activities.
Summary of food service options for LSCFOs and associated requirements:
Food Service Type
|100% Pre-packaged, non-perishable food storage/distribution||Exempt||Follow safe food practices for the storage and distribution of pre-packaged food items.|
|100% Pre-packaged perishable food storage/distribution, distributed under the purview of a permitted food bank||Exempt||These operations fall under the permit of the associated food bank. Follow food bank best management practices.|
|100% Pre-packaged perishable food storage/distribution not associated with a permitted food bank|| ||Completion of a Limited Service Charitable Feeding Operation Registration Application. Compliance with Best Management Practices approved by DEHQ. Annual payment of registration fees.|
|Heating (and reheating for hot holding), portioning, or assembly of small volume commercially prepared foods, whole, uncut produce|| |
Submit proof of non-profit status
|Completion of a Limited Service Charitable Feeding Operation Registration Application. Compliance with Best Management Practices approved by DEHQ. Annual payment of registration fees.|
|Food preparation not included in the list above.|| |
Must obtain approval from DEHQ Plan Check
apply for a
|Meet CRFC requirements for a retail food facility. Complete the plan check process and obtain an annual health permit.|
The County of San Diego supports the Live Well San Diego Food System Initiative. It promotes a robust and resilient local food system that builds healthy communities, supports the economy and enhances the environment. On December 12, 2018 the County Board of Supervisors approved waiving the fees associated with registering or obtaining a health permit for charitable feeding organizations. This means that the Department of Environmental Health and Quality (DEHQ) will not be charging a fee for any charitable feeding organizations that need to register or obtain a health permit.
As the holidays near, if you are looking to volunteer or if you or someone you know is in need of food, please visit the San Diego Food Bank webpage for a schedule of food distributions taking place this month. Lists are organized according to program.
Charitable Feeding Operation Publications
Charitable Feeding Operations During COVID-19
Holiday Charitable Feeding Guidance During COVID-19 *NEW*
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Registration Form (Fillable)
Registration Form (Print Version)
Best Management Practices (BMPs)
Requirements and Flow Chart