frv frequently asked questions


What is food recovery?

Food recovery is rescuing safe, edible surplus food that would otherwise go to waste and donating it to a hunger-fighting 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

What is Food recovery verified?

Food Recovery Verified (FRV) recognizes food businesses and events that fight food waste and feed people through food recovery. FRV serves as a third party that verifies food businesses are donating surplus food at least once per month to a hunger-fighting 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act protects food donors from civil and criminal liability, so long as the recovered food is donated in good faith to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Who can become verified?

We work with a diverse selection of food businesses and events through the FRV program, including higher education dining facilities (both with and without FRN chapters), K-12 schools, hospitals, hotels, convention centers, corporate cafeterias, sports arenas, trade shows, conferences, galas and awards ceremonies. In order to become verified, food businesses must recover food that would otherwise go to waste at least once per month. Event verification is determined based on a variety of factors and we encourage you to speak to an FRV team member prior to applying. For both food businesses and events, recovered food must be donated to a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to comply with the terms of the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act. 

How does a business or event become verified?

If you represent a business that already has a food recovery program established, you are welcome to apply for Food Recovery Verification today. If you represent a food business or an event that does not have a food recovery program in place, follow the steps below to get started!

  • Schedule a call with our team to discuss your unique food business or event

  • Collaborate with our team to create a food recovery program tailored to your business’s or event’s needs

  • Food businesses should complete three food recoveries (event verification does not require this step)

  • Apply for verification!

  • The FRV team will ensure that your nonprofit partner receives regular food donations from your business (event verification requires a one-time food donation)

When you’re ready, apply to become Food Recovery Verified on our website. An FRV team member will begin to process food business applications within 10 days of receipt, but it can take 1-3 weeks to approve an application depending on our ability to get in touch with the nonprofit partner receiving food donations. Event applications will be processed as the food recovery program takes shape and the event draws nearer. All applicants will be notified by both email and direct mail that your Food Recovery Verified application has been approved.

my business already donates surplus food. Can I contact FRN to help improve our food recovery program?

Certainly, our team is equipped with resources and knowledge to help you overcome challenges that impact the success of your food recovery program. Please schedule a call with an FRV team member so that we can learn more about your food business and determine how we can assist you. We commend you for having a food recovery program in place already and encourage you to apply to become Food Recovery Verified!


Thanks to the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, the donating party is exempt from liability for all food donations made to 501(c)(3) nonprofits in good faith. According to a report from the University of Arkansas Food Recovery Project, there has never been a single lawsuit regarding liability of donated food!

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What are the benefits of FRV?

Food Recovery has economic, social and environmental benefits which translate into greater savings, community engagement and sustainability for businesses and organizations that donate their surplus food. 

By recovering surplus food through daily operations and events, your business will:

  • Save money → Tracking food waste through food recovery can promote higher efficiency in the handling, preparation and storage of food and can lead to better purchasing decisions to buy only the amount of food that is needed

  • Improve company culture → Organizations that recover and donate surplus food often report an increase in staff morale and a heightened sense of pride, knowing that food will be given to those who need it most

  • Reduce hunger and food insecurity → By donating surplus food, you support nonprofit organizations that are feeding hungry people in your community and thereby have a hand in reducing food insecurity among your neighbors

  • Reduce your carbon footprint → Food Recovery ensures that food is diverted from landfills where food waste produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming

How do I track my recoveries?

There are multiple common methods to track food recoveries including LeanPath, Zero Percent, MintScraps, and a simple spreadsheet. If you currently do not track food waste and/or recoveries, we encourage you to use our template spreadsheet. The best method is the one you keep up with, so it is by no means required that you use our template in order to qualify for FRV. However, we recommend tracking surplus food for three reasons:

  1. Tracking food can help you reduce the amount of surplus food you generate. There are many methods of reducing food waste. While using surplus food to feed hungry people is a great cause, the most preferred option on the EPA's Food Recovery Hierarchy is reduction at the source. Source reduction can include

  2. Reducing the amount of food ordered to match what is actually consumed (using the food tracking form as a reference) helps save money for your business and reduce inputs for food production and distribution. This is called a food waste audit and can help you operate a sustainable food business.

  3. We have a large national network of FRN student chapters and Food Recovery Verified food businesses and events; we are interested in determining the impact our network is making. By providing the number of pounds you are able to recover, we can use this information to determine the number of food-insecure Americans we are reaching. It also helps us examine and continuously improve our process.

IS THERE A MINIMUM requirement for food donation to BECOME VERIFIED?

There is no minimum weight requirement for food donations to become verified. We only require that your business donates food at least once per month to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. If you feel that you are not able to donate at least once per month because of seasonal operations, please contact our team and we will see if there can be an exception made for your business.

How can I find food verified businesses?

You can find a full list of currently verified businesses on our FRV page.


If you do not have a nonprofit partner that can accept your food donations, you can schedule a time to speak with the FRV team so that we can find a nonprofit that works best for your needs. 

We also recommend an internet search for local nonprofits, including:

  • Homeless shelters

  • Soup kitchens

  • Churches that serve community meals

  • Transitional homes

  • After-school programs

  • Senior programs


We will work with you every step of the way to find another non profit organization for your business to partner with. Once you tell us your preferences, we will find an organization that suits you. You can call us at (240) 615-8813 and email us at

Does it cost money to become verified?

Yes, we charge a small $100 fee for every FRV application, which applies to both food business and event applicants. This fee helps us cover the cost of creating our resources and maintaining our network. Please review the payment details for food businesses and events below, as there are some differences in the application process that may impact the total cost of verification.

Food businesses, both first-time and renewal applicants, will be charged $100 with the submission of an application which ensures your verification for 12 months (discounts may apply for Bon Appetit accounts, Sodexo accounts, and other partners, if you fall under these categories please email the FRV team at All food businesses must renew their verification annually to maintain Food Recovery Verified status. 

Event applicants will also be charged a $100 fee per application. We require a new application be submitted for each event that you wish to ensure is Food Recovery Verified. If you anticipate hosting three or more events per year that you would like to have verified, please contact our team to explore partnership and pricing opportunities.  

Is it logistically feasible for my food business to start donating food?

Great question, you are not alone in having this concern. In a 2016 report by the Food Waste Reduction Alliance, 89% of manufacturers, 75% of retailers, and 68% of restaurants indicated that internal and external barriers kept their company from donating more food. These barriers ranged from concerns over insufficient refrigerated storage space by both their company and nonprofit partner agencies and legal liability to transport logistics and breaking out of their franchise model. 

Fortunately, there are solutions to some of these problems! The Food Waste Reduction Alliance has supplied a toolkit of best management practices for overcoming barriers to donation. These steps include:

  • Being communicative with the nonprofit organization about the desire to donate food and the amount to be donated. For events, we recognize that food recovery requires collaboration with the venue and food service staff. We recommend reviewing this guide, produced by the World Wildlife Fund, to help navigate conversations with your venue on best practices to reduce food waste. 

  • Being knowledgeable on the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act and how it addresses legal liability. This federal law exempts organizations that donate  food in good faith from civil and criminal liability. Currently, there has never been a lawsuit in the United States over liability of donated food.


Food recovery works best when all parties involved in the planning and food service for an event are committed. If you are an event coordinator or host organization for an event and are having difficulty working with your venue or food service provider, we are here to support you in your effort to recover food. Please schedule a call with a team member to determine the best way to move forward! We can also offer helpful resources to explain the benefits of food recovery and protection from liability. 

Do you verify small meetings and private events?

As a general policy, we are unable to provide hands on support with food recovery for events with fewer than 200 attendees. We’ve found that events under 200 attendees do not yield a sufficient amount of surplus food for nonprofit partners to allocate staff time and resources to coordinate a pick-up. We still encourage host organizations to discuss best practices to reduce food waste with their venue/caterer/food service provider and to be prepared to donate surplus food directly to a local nonprofit in their area, but FRN will not have the ability to be directly involved with the coordination of that effort.


Yes, absolutely! By the time your event is underway, you’ve already done the work to coordinate with the event venue and food service provider to ensure that all surplus food is recovered and donated to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit partner. If there is no food to recover from the event, we celebrate that you supplied just enough food for all to enjoy! Your event is still verified. 


We require notice of your interest in food recovery at least 30 days before your event will take place. This provides time for our team to learn about the food service, collaborate with different parties involved with food service, and coordinate recovery logistics with a local nonprofit partner in the area. We can’t guarantee verification for events that provide less than 30 days notice.