(Last Updated 09/05/2023)
New Jersey Date Labeling Regulations
Rating: Negative Policy
New Jersey requires date labeling on dairy products and shellfish. Shellfish packages smaller than 1/2 gallon must be marked with a sell-by date, and shellfish packages with capacity of 1/2 gallon or more must be labeled with the date of shucking. Sale is restricted for past date dairy products. Donation of any past date food item is not restricted.
Date labels are the dates on food packaging that are accompanied by phrases such as "use by," "best before," "sell by," "enjoy by," and "expires on." Date labels are almost entirely unregulated under federal law, except for infant formula and some very limited instances related to poultry and egg products. Because federal law is so limited, states have broad discretion to regulate date labels, which has resulted in a patchwork of date label regulation across the United States. The inconsistency in date label laws leads to food waste because consumers may discard food after the date on the package due to confusion about product safety and retailers or manufacturers may discard food due to confusion about selling or donating the past-date food.
New Jersey Liability Protection Regulations
Rating: Strong Policy
Donations made within the state are protected from liability according to the federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act. In addition, the state protects donations of food that is past-date and regardless of compliance with regulations on the quality or labeling of food.
The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, as amended by the Food Donation Improvement Act, provides a strong federal baseline of protection for food donors against state and federal liability claims. It covers individuals, businesses, schools, nonprofit organizations, the officers of businesses and nonprofit organizations, and gleaners. A donor must donate in good faith to a nonprofit organization that distributes the donated food to needy populations, or, if the donor is a qualified direct donor, they may donate food directly to needy individuals. Donated food must meet all quality and labeling standards imposed by federal, state and local laws and regulations. A state’s liability protection law can provide more, but not less, protection than the Emerson Act.
New Jersey TAX INCENTIVES
Rating: No Policy
New Jersey does not offer additional tax incentives beyond federal incentives.
The federal government provides tax deductions to incentivize businesses to donate food. As of December 2015, all businesses—including C-corporations, S-corporations, limited liability corporations (LLCs), partnerships and sole proprietorships—are eligible for an enhanced tax deduction that exceeds the property’s basis for donated food if they meet certain requirements. If they do not meet the requirements, they can still claim a general tax deduction in the amount of the property’s basis.
New Jersey FOOD SAFETY
Rating: No Policy
New Jersey does not have any food safety laws nor guidance regarding food donations.
States often base their food safety regulations on the model food safety regulations for restaurants and retail stores within the FDA Food Code. While the Food Code states that food donation is permitted, it does not specify which food safety laws or regulations pertain to the food donation context. Without guidance or clarity coming from a governmental entity, food donors will often refuse to donate their safe, wholesome food. States vary broadly in terms of the level of guidance they provide on food safety rules for food donation, often providing limited guidance for a specialized context, such as share tables in schools, or no guidance at all.
New Jersey Animal Feed Regulations
Rating: Weak Policy
Any animal or vegetable waste resulting from handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of foods, including animal carcasses or parts thereof, must be heat treated prior to feeding swine. Milk must be pasteurized prior to feeding farm animals. Annual animal-derived treated waste feeding permits must be obtained, but exceptions apply for individuals feeding their own household waste to animals raised for their own use.
For centuries, using food scraps as animal feed was common worldwide. The practice declined rapidly in the 1980s, when several disease outbreaks were linked to unsafe animal feed. In an attempt to prevent the spread of such diseases, federal laws and regulations were enacted to restrict what is often pejoratively referred to as “garbage feeding” to animals. However, using food scraps as animal feed in a safe, resource-efficient way can be environmentally friendly and energy-efficient, providing multiple benefits for both farmers and food waste generators, such as retailers, restaurants, and institutional cafeterias. Under federal law, food scraps can generally be fed to animals, so long as food scraps with animal derived by-products are heat-treated by a licensed facility before being fed to swine; and food scraps containing animal-derived by-products are not fed to ruminants. The federal regulations function as a floor, and most state regulations go beyond them.
New Jersey Organic Waste Recycling Laws
Rating: Weak Policy
Large food waste generators that produce more than 52 tons of organic waste per year must separate the organic waste and ensure proper recycling. Exemptions apply if the entity is located greater than 25 miles from an organics processing facility, and generators may apply for exemption if the cost of proper recycling and transportation to recycling facilities is at least 10 percent more than the cost of transporting the food waste for disposal as solid waste plus the disposal fee charged for solid waste disposal.
In order to push businesses and consumers to reduce food waste, a growing number of states and localities are enacting organic waste bans or waste recycling laws to restrict the amount of food waste an entity can send to the landfill. However, each state differs regarding the specifics of its waste ban or recycling law. For example, they vary with regard to the types of entities covered under the law, how much organic waste an entity must produce in order to be covered, and whether exceptions exist for entities located far from a facility that accepts food scraps. These differences have a significant impact on the reach of these laws, and therefore on the amount of food waste diverted.