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SHARE it! The Federal Good Samaritan Act protects food donors and recipient agencies from legal liability.
On the topic of food donation and reducing food waste, one of the #1 concerns heard from food business owners and others is “I’d love to donate surplus or leftover food from my operation but I’m concerned about the risk of legal liability. I don’t want my business to get sued!”
This is a valid concern but guess what? The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996 has got your back as do other federal and state laws. These laws offer broad protections to good faith donors of gleaned and recovered food.
Furthermore, as reported by the University of Arkansas School of Law’s Food Recovery Project “…a thorough search of filings and reported decisions did not turn up a single case that involved food donation-related liability or any attempts to get around the protections offered by the Bill Emerson Act. Additionally, several leading food recovery experts and anti-hunger advocates report that they are unaware of any such actual or threatened lawsuits.”
And thanks to the Food Recovery Project and the work of many others there is a compendium of resources to help your business, non-profit and legal team to get educated. Here is a good start:
- Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996
- Food Recovery: A Legal Guide (by Nicole Civita)
Ready to Donate?
When you are ready to begin donating food and working to eliminate food waste from your operation here are a few steps you can take:
- Post a DONATION Alert on CropMobster to reach a wide array of professional and expert hunger relief organizations and recipients
- Reach out directly to your local food bank and food pantries. Here is a great search tool. Just type in the city closest to you.
- In the Bay Area organizations like Food Runners (SF), ExtraFood.org (Marin) and FoodShift (Alameda) are alsoleading experts and resources on the topic of food recovery, donation and food waste prevention.
Thanks to the Food Recovery Project at the University of Arkansas School of Law for their work and research on this important topic.