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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 5, 2022 05:00 PM
From: Senator Michele Brooks
To: All Senate members
Subject: Food Safety Mandates for Nonprofits Serving Food 12 Times a Year or Less
In the near future, I will be re-introducing legislation to help nonprofits operate chicken barbecues, pancake breakfasts, cake wheels, and other food-based fundraisers without overly burdensome government mandates.

Under the existing food safety laws, even nonprofit organizations that provide food to the public only a few times a year are required to be licensed and inspected by the licensor with jurisdiction. The provisions of the law grant authority to a licensor to exempt retail food facilities from licensing if they operate on no more than three days per year. The law also grants a licensor the authority to exempt from licensing those retail food facilities owned by churches and those owned by charitable nonprofit entities and managed by organizations that encourage or promote certain extracurricular school activities.

I believe we need to find a balance between responsible government oversight and government intrusion. These organizations provide important services and other benefits to our communities, and their volunteers can find oversight to be extremely difficult and costly.

My legislation would require a licensor to exempt charitable nonprofits from retail food facility licensing if they operate on no more than twelve days per year. This will give those organizations that have monthly fundraising activities that involve serving food to the public the opportunity to operate without the need to invest in expensive facilities or purchase an annual license.

Lenten church fish fries, summertime ice cream socials, and other food-centered events are all critical fundraising tools for our local volunteers and communities.

This piece of legislation was Senate Bill 592 of last session, cosponsored by Senators Martin, J. Ward, DiSanto, K. Ward and Stefano.

Please join me in cosponsoring this legislation.  Thank you.

Introduced as SB160