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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 13, 2021 03:06 PM
From: Representative David H. Rowe
To: All House members
Subject: Limited Liability for Donating Food Past Recommended Label Codes (Former HB 2477)
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 established by the manufacturer to indicate the best use-by date for purposes of freshness, many potential food donors misinterpret these labels as “expiration dates” or indicators of food 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 and a provision in Title 42. However, the donation of foods past their recommended label codes is not explicitly protected from liability.

I will soon re-introduce legislation that would expand the current immunity from civil and criminal liability to explicitly apply to the donation of food that has exceeded the manufacturer’s recommended label code date, but is still fit for human consumption. This clarification will correct the current misconception that donating “past-date” food will place the donor outside of liability protection.

By making small changes to the Donated Food Limited Liability Act, this legislation can provide a critical link between surplus food and the over 1.5 million people in Pennsylvania who are food insecure (pre-pandemic statistic). This measure is especially important with the extraordinary number of people who continue to find themselves in need of charitable food assistance because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I hope you join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB187