(Last Updated 10/09/2023)
Oregon Date Labeling Regulations
Rating: Negative Policy
Or. Rev. Stat. § 616.805; Or. Rev. Stat. § 616.815; Or. Rev. Stat. § 616.825; Or. Rev. Stat. § 616.830; Or. Admin. R. 603-025- 0080; Or. Admin. R. 603-025-0090; Or. Admin. R. 333-150-0000; Food Code 3-202.17
Oregon requires date labeling on shellfish and the packaged perishable foods listed in Oregon Administrative Rule. 603-025-0080. Candies, nuts, non-alcoholic beverages, fruit juices, sterile dairy products, and some baked good are exempted from the labeling requirement. Sale of these past date packaged perishable foods is prohibited unless they are 1) separated from foods that are not past date, 2) clearly labeled as past date, and 3) fit for human consumption according to applicable state and federal law. Shellfish packages smaller than 1/2 gallon must be marked with a “sell by” or “best if used by” date, and shellfish packages with capacity of 1/2 gallon or more must be labeled with the date of shucking. 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.
Oregon 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 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.
Oregon TAX INCENTIVES
Rating: Moderate Policy
Farmers and farm businesses are eligible for a tax credit for the donation of crops and livestock to a food bank or other charitable organization that distributes food free of charge. The tax credit is valued at 15% of wholesale market price. This tax credit is set to expire January 1, 2026.
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.
Oregon FOOD SAFETY
Rating: Moderate Policy
Oregon regulations detail food safety measures for benevolent organizations. The state also provides safety guidance on benevolent food distribution sites.
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.
Oregon Animal Feed Regulations
Rating: Negative Policy
Swine cannot be fed any animal or vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, consuming, and cooking of food. Exceptions apply for individuals feeding household waste. Additionally, the waste may be fed if it was sourced solely from a fruit or vegetable cannery, processing plant, or sorting establishment; solely from a bakery; or a combination of these types.
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.
Oregon Organic Waste Recycling Laws
Rating: No Policy
Oregon does not have a state-wide organic waste ban or waste recycling laws that bear on food waste.
Portland Metro Area Ordinance
Any business that cooks, assembles, processes, serves, or sells food must separate and recycle food waste. Metro encourages prioritizing the donation of food fit for human consumption.
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.