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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20190&cosponId=30533
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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: October 16, 2019 02:11 PM
From: Representative Melissa L. Shusterman
To: All House members
Subject: Liability Protections for the Donation of Safe Food Exceeding its Shelf-Life Date.
 
Approximately 40 percent of the food produced in the United States goes uneaten, resulting in 63 million tons of wasted food each year. Although much of this excess food is healthy and safe to eat, a significant amount ends up in landfills, instead of on the plates of those in need. More than 1.5 million people in Pennsylvania are food insecure, meaning that at some point during the year they lack access to a sufficient amount of food to lead an active, healthy lifestyle. It has been estimated that recovering and redistributing just 30 percent of the nation’s surplus food would provide enough food to feed all food insecure Americans their total diet.

A key barrier to the donation of surplus food from individuals and businesses is the fear of liability if anyone were to fall ill from the donated food. While date labels on food are commonly indicators of freshness, many potential food donors misinterpret these labels as indicators of safety. In Pennsylvania, the donation of food to nonprofit food recovery organizations is protected from limited civil and criminal liability through the Donated Food Limited Liability Act. Although immunity is provided to food that is not readily marketable due to considerations that do not affect its fitness for human consumption, the donation of past-date foods is not explicitly protected from liability.

My legislation would expand the current immunity from civil and criminal liability to explicitly apply to the donation of food that has exceeded the labeled shelf life date but is fit for human consumption. This clarification will correct the current misconception that donating past-date food will place the donor outside the Act’s protection.

By making small changes to the Donated Food Limited Liability Act, this legislation can provide a critical link between wholesome surplus food, and the 1.5 million people in Pennsylvania who are food insecure. I hope you join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.



Introduced as HB1999