Food Rescue

OzHarvest Food Rescue story

OzHarvest was the first organisation in Australia to rescue perishable excess food. We now work with over 3,500 food donor businesses to facilitate the rescue of quality surplus food free of charge, for over 1,300 local charities.

The demand for food relief continues to rise, with over five million people in Australia struggling with food insecurity.  We are working hard to ensure a regular supply of nutritious food to many agencies, but many say they could take double to meet demand.

Stopping good food going to waste and getting it to people in need helps in many ways:

  • Nutritious food for charities by providing high quality food to agencies which may not have been previously available.
  • Savings for charities as vital funds saved from grocery bills can be redirected to education, rehabilitation and other programs.
  • Protecting the planet by ensuring good food gets eaten rather than going to landfill helps reduce the negative impact of food waste on the environment.
  • Savings for food donors through reducing costs for excess food disposal and storage costs, and increasing the positive impact on the local community.

OzHarvest has two models of food rescue it adopts around the country:

Across major metro areas and several regional locations OzHarvest vehicles directly collect food from food donors and deliver it straight to agencies in need.

In regions we are unable to assist with our van model we utilise The OzHarvest Food App. The app is an innovative technology platform which effectively connects businesses with surplus food, to charities in need of food relief in the local area.

For more information:

Food donors click here

Food relief agencies click here


What food can be donated?

Almost anything suitable for human consumption, as long as it’s food safe. Fruit and vegetables, meat, cooked meals and prepacked vacuum items, dry goods, cakes and baked goods, drinks, dairy and eggs.

What food can’t be donated?  

High risk foods (including shellfish and cooked rice), anything containing alcohol and food prepared by a non-certified person. Bread is also a challenge to re-distribute due to huge wastage volumes in Australia. For this reason, we’re currently at capacity taking bread donations.

What packaging should I use to donate food? 

Food should be donated in food safe containers that will survive transport and re-distribution. OzHarvest vans and charities collecting through the app also carry some containers.

Can OzHarvest take food past “use by” dates?

No. Unfortunately this is no longer food safe. However, some meats can be frozen on this date and remain food safe.

Can OzHarvest take food past “best before” dates?

Yes! We can collect certain foods past the best before dates, if the food is still in good condition and food safe. Generally, three months past is a safe rule, however please call to discuss.

Can OzHarvest collect from private households? 

No. Unfortunately there are food safety complications around this, and OzHarvest is not set up logistically to collect from households.

What is my obligation re food safety laws?

Under the Civil Liberties Amendment Act, businesses donating food are protected from liability (Ronni Kahn lobbied government to have legislation changed back in 2005).  Please ensure food has been prepared and handled within food safety guidelines and check your local state legislation for more information.

Can OzHarvest deliver food to individuals?

Unfortunately our drivers are unable to deliver food to personal or private residences. If you are looking for support, ASK IZZY can help you to find the services you need, now and nearby. It is free and anonymous, and you can search services to find food, housing, healthcare, counselling, legal advice, addiction treatment. You’ll just need to add your suburb and it will display results that are nearest.

If you are in Sydney, the OzHarvest Market is currently providing food hampers, free of charge. The market is located at 147 Anzac Parade, Kensington, and is open from 10am to 2pm, Tuesday – Friday. Please click here for more information.

VIC – The Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398
QLD – Community Recovery Hotline 1800 173 349
SA – Please refer to
NSW – Please refer to
WA – Please refer to