(Last Updated 09/13/2021)
Food Donation Act of 2017
On February 7, 2017, Representatives Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), and James P. McGovern (D-MA) introduced The Food Donation Act of 2017 (H.R. 952), which will expand liability protection for food donation and reduce wasted food nationwide. The Food Donation Act was also introduced in the Senate in 2018 (S. 2787) and was sponsored by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). The bill enhances the coverage of the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act (Emerson Act), which promotes food donation by extending civil and criminal liability protection to food donors and food recovery organizations. The Emerson Act provides a broad base of liability protection that was intended to encourage food donations, yet donors are often unaware of the Act’s protections. Many food manufacturers, retailers, and restaurants still cite fear of liability as a primary deterrent to donating food. This legislation will help to clarify some of the ambiguous terms in the Emerson Act, promote awareness of the Act, and extend liability protection to support modern food donation.
- Improves federal oversight of liability protections for food donation under the Emerson Act by delegating authority of the Act to the U.S. Department of Agriculture;
- Expands liability protections to food donations sold at a reduced price;
- Expands liability protections to include food service establishments, retailers, educational institutions, restaurants, wholesalers, and farmers that donate food directly to individuals.
- Extends liability protections to explicitly cover past-date foods;
- Expands liability protections to mislabeled food as long as the mislabeling does not relate to food safety.