Food Recovery Verified

Frequently Asked Quesitions

What is food recovery?

Food Recovery is rescuing surplus food that would otherwise be wasted and giving it to hunger-fighting partner agencies.

What is Food recovery verified?

The mission of Food Recovery Verified (FRV) is to recognize and reward food businesses of any type that are working to fight waste and feed people through food recovery. FRV serves as a third party that verifies that food businesses are donating surplus food at least once per month to hunger fighting non-profits.

Who can become verified?

Any food provider can become verified! We have verified universities with FRN chapters, universities without chapters, K-12 schools, hospitals, hotels, corporate headquarters, and conferences. In order to become verified, your food business must recover food that would otherwise be wasted at least once per month. If your recovery occurs at an event or your establishment can only perform recoveries once per year (farm/manufacturer), please let us know in your application. Recovered food must be donated to 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations in order to be in compliance with the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act. 

How does one become verified?

Apply to FRV on our website and we will reach out to you, your partner agency, and references within 10 business days.

What are the benefits of FRV?

  • Recognition by the first program in the United States designed to verify food recovery efforts by businesses

  • Digital copy of our logo to be used on websites, social media accounts, and printed publications

  • Social Media promotion - If you would like, when you become verified, we will make a Facebook post about you joining the program on our page with over 26,000 followers

  • Window sticker: an easy way to appeal to customers - customers can immediately recognize that the business donates its surplus

  • Tax incentives may be available to organizations donating to non-profits

  • We are the national experts in recovering prepared foods, and we provide program improvement resources. Becoming Food Recovery Verified means that we can support you in finding ways to improve your food donation programs and reduce waste

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 two reasons:

  1. Tracking food can help you reduce the amount of surplus food you generate. 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. 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 your food business more sustainably. If you are interest in performing a food waste audit but are unsure where to begin, check out the EPA's Food Loss Prevention Options for various sectors.

  2. As we have a large national network of FRN student chapters and Food Recovery Verified food businesses, 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 see we are reaching the most food-insecure Americans, as well as examine where we need to improve.

How can I find food verified businesses?

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

How do I find a non-profit to donate to?

You can start by looking for your area on these sites:

Or by performing a google search for local non-profits, including:

  • Homeless shelters

  • Soup kitchens

  • Churches that serve community meals

  • Transitional homes

  • After-school programs

  • Senior programs

Does it cost money to become verified?

If businesses meet this criteria they can apply to become food recovery verified for a suggested donation of $100 per year (discounts may apply for Bon Appetit accounts, Sodexo accounts, and other partners). FRV requires clients to renew their Partnerships each year to ensure that our standards are being upheld.

What are the laws regarding food recovery?

Thanks to the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, the donating party is exempt from liability for all food donations made to non-profits in good faith. Fun fact:  according to a report from the University of Arkansas Food Recovery Project, there has never been a single lawsuit regarding liability of donated food!

Your food business may also qualify for tax incentives for donating food products to non-profits.

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

On the plus side, you are not alone in wondering this. 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 storage refrigeration by both their company and non-profit partner agencies and 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 potential partner agency about the desire to donate food and the amount to be donated.

  • Knowledge on the extent of the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act should address much of the concern about liability. As mentioned in this FAQ, this federal law exempts organizations that donate and receive apparently wholesome 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.