News   /   May 31, 2022   /   

New Law AB 1276 Imposes a State-Mandated Local Program to Regulate Single-Use Foodware Accessories and Standard Condiments

AB 1276, authored by Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo, was signed into law on October 5, 2021. The goal of AB 1276 is to reduce the use of and waste generated by all single-use food service products.[1] AB 1276 expands on the current California state law regarding plastic straws (AB 1884) and requires cities to authorize an enforcement agency to enforce this new law on or before June 1, 2022.[2]

AB 1276 prohibits food facilities and third-party food platforms from providing any single-use foodware accessories or standard condiments to a customer, unless requested. The bill also prohibits those items from being bundled or packaged in a way that prohibits the consumer from taking only the item desired. Single-use foodware accessories and standard condiments are distinguished as follows:

  • Single-use foodware accessory: forks, knives, spoons, sporks, chopsticks, condiment cups and packets, straws, stirrers, splash sticks, and cocktail sticks. [3]
  • Standard condiments: relishes, spices, sauces, confections, or seasonings that require no additional preparation and that are usually used on a food item after preparation, including ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, soy sauce, hot sauce, salsa, salt, pepper, sugar, and sugar substitutes.[4]

Food Facilities and Third-Party Food Delivery

The bill requires third-party food delivery platforms and food facilities using a third-party food delivery platform to list on their menu the availability of single-use foodware accessories and standard condiments, and to only provide those items when requested. If a consumer does not request any single-use foodware accessories or standard condiments, these items shall not be provided.[5]

State-mandated Local Program: Enforcement and Violations

This bill imposes a state-mandated local program by creating a new crime and imposing additional duties on cities. The law requires each city, by June 1, 2022, to authorize an enforcement agency to enforce these requirements.[6] While the bill does not specify what entity(ies) should be designated to enforce this new law, cities are expected to provide this service and will be the recipient of any fines from those who violate this new law. The State of California is not required to reimburse certain costs that may be incurred by cities enforcing this new law.[7] Currently, the new law does not impose any fines from the State of California against cities that fail to enforce AB 1276.

The first and second violations for restaurants will result in a notice of violation. Any subsequent violation will be an infraction punishable by a fine of twenty-five dollars ($25) for each day in violation, but not to exceed an annual total of three hundred dollars ($300).[8]

The new law does not apply to correctional institutions, health care facilities, residential care facilities, and public and private school cafeterias.[9]

How Local Governments are Working to Comply with AB 1276

Counties and cities are permitted to adopt regulation that is more restrictive than AB 1276.[10] For example, Los Angeles County recently adopted an ordinance for unincorporated parts of the County that not only complies with AB 1276, but also bans polystyrene products such as cooler, plates and cups.

Cities across the state are working to comply with AB 1276. If you have any questions regarding AB 1276, or how to adopt policies in compliance with this new law, please contact your OMLO attorney.

OMLO will continue to monitor these developments carefully. This article is for informational purposes only and only provides an overview of specific developments. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for any particular fact situation. For actual legal advice and specifics pertaining to your governmental entity, please contact your OMLO attorney for assistance.

[1] PRC §42271(i).

[2] 2021 California Assembly Bill No. 1276, California 2021-2022 Regular Session.

[3] PRC §42270(e).

[4] PRC §42270(f).

[5] PRC §42271(e)(1) and (2).

[6] PRC §42272(a).

[7] PRC Division 30, Part 3, Chapter 5.2, Sec. 6.

[8] PRC §42272(b).

[9] PRC §42273(a) – (d).

[10] PRC § 42271(h).

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