Limited Service Charitable Feeding Operations

According to the California Association of Food Banks, one in eight Californians currently struggle with food insecurity and one in five children in California struggle with hunger.  Assembly Bill 2178 was signed by the Governor and became effective January 1, 2019.  This bill provides local enforcement agencies additional flexibility when working with charitable organizations that wish to feed the hungry but do not have access to a full service, permitted commercial kitchen. AB 2178 exempts a Limited Service Charitable Food Operation (LSCFO) from the definition of a food facility, as defined in the California Retail Food Code (CalCode).  It does not include a temporary food facility or a nonprofit charitable temporary food facility.  The operation is generally required to register with the local enforcement agency, with certain exceptions. AB 2178 exempts the LSCFO from the requirements of CalCode except for specified general food safety sections and other requirements.  The operation must comply with best management practices approved by the local enforcement agency.  It allows for food distribution at an outdoor location for up to 4 hours per day.


An LSCFO is an operation for food service to a consumer solely for providing charity, that is conducted by a nonprofit charitable organization operating pursuant to Chapter 10.6 of the California Retail Food Code (CalCode) and whose food service is limited to any of the following functions:

  1. Storage and distribution of whole, uncut produce or of prepackaged, non-potentially hazardous foods in their original manufacturer's packaging.
  2. Heating, portioning, or assembly of a small volume of commercially prepared foods or ingredients that are not prepackaged.                  
  3. Reheating or portioning of only commercially prepared foods with no further processing/for purposes of hot holding and no longer than same-day food service to the consumer.
  4. Storage or distribution of commercially prepared and commercially packaged potentially hazardous cold or frozen foods for distribution to the consumer.