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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: September 16, 2019 05:08 PM
From: Representative Danielle Friel Otten
To: All House members
Subject: Expanding Food Donor Immunity
The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that 30-40 percent of the food supply in the United States is wasted, with sweeping effects on food security and resource conservation. In 2016, a survey by the Food Waste Reduction Alliance found that concern about donor liability was the driving force behind the lack of food donations by 44 percent of food manufacturers, 41 percent of restaurants, and 25 percent of retailers.

Concern over potential liability for donating excess food results in an estimated 133 billion pounds of food wasted per year, which equates to approximately 1,250 calories per person, per day. That number is 62.5 percent of the average woman’s recommended daily intake and 50 percent of the average man’s recommended daily intake, going to waste because individuals and establishments are afraid of being found liable for food-related illnesses that occur as a result of donated food.

To help address this issue, I am introducing a bill to expand food donor immunity from liability for establishments and persons who donate food directly to needy individuals. Currently, immunity is offered to those who donate food to charitable and religious organizations. Under my proposed legislation, the donor would be required to donate the food in good faith after taking reasonable steps to ensure the food’s safety in order to receive the protection from liability. Additionally, the bill would allow for charitable and/or religious organizations to charge a nominal fee sufficient only to cover costs associated with acquiring, storing, and transporting food donations to help them more efficiently get the food to needy individuals.

Please join me in supporting this important legislation.

Introduced as HB1950