Foodservice Equipment Reports

A Reminder About The Good Samaritan Food Donation Act

End of year giving is a wonderful thing, but in a country where an estimated 30 million Americans—including 12 million children—are at risk of hunger, giving and donating is needed year-round.

An estimated 14 billion pounds of food are sent to U.S. landfills every year. Nationwide, full-service restaurants account for 20% of food waste, grocery stores account for 11%, and QSRs add another 13% to the heap, according to a 2013 waste audit by Business for Social Responsibility for the Food Waste Alliance.

Operators who cite liability fears as reason not to donate to feeding programs should be made aware of the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act. Signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, the act protects food donors including individuals and non-profit feeding programs who act in good faith from civil and criminal liability, should the product later cause harm to its recipient. (The law makes an exception for gross negligence and/or intentional misconduct.)

In addition to reducing potential donor liability, the Bill Emerson Act solves the problems created by a patchwork of various state laws through partial preemption and enables and encourages food recovery to help those that are food insecure. The act covers all food and grocery products that meet the quality and labeling standards imposed by federal, state and local laws and regulations—even though the food may not be “readily marketable due to appearance, age, freshness, grade, size, surplus or other conditions.”

More information on donating, and ways to connect, can be found at Food Donation Connection.

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