Donate Leftover Food

  • Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act
    In 1996, the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act was signed. This Act encourages the donation of food and grocery products to non-profit organizations that, in turn, distribute to those in need.

    Easier to Donate…
    • It protects you from liability when you donate to a non-profit organization.
    • It protects you from civil and criminal liability should the product, donated in good faith, later cause harm to the needy recipient.
    • It standardizes donor liability exposure. You or your legal counsel no longer have to investigate liability laws in 50 states.
    • It sets a liability floor of "gross negligence" or intentional misconduct for persons who donate grocery products. According to the new law, gross negligence is defined as "voluntary and conscious conduct by a person with knowledge (at the time of conduct) that the conduct is likely to be harmful to the health or well being of another person."
Congress recognized that the provision of food close to the date of recommended retail sale is, in and of itself, not grounds for finding gross negligence. For example, you can donate cereal marked close to code date for retail sale.

Easier to Do the Right Thing…
  • Your company's support promotes corporate citizenship.
  • A public survey indicates that 80% of survey respondents would be encouraged to buy products from companies supporting hunger relief.
  • The 1995 Market Potential Report found that 83% of more than 240 companies polled cited "liability concerns" as the single greatest factor in determining if their company would donate product.
  • In the same report, 75% of 300 companies interviewed reported greater satisfaction in donating food and grocery products than selling them to secondary markets, dumping or destroying them.

    A nonprofit organization (even a church) needs 501(c)(3) status in order to benefit from the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act. This act of Congress releases restaurants and other food organizations from civil and criminal liability associated with the donation of food to nonprofits assisting individuals in need. The act protects donors in all 50 states from civil and criminal liability for good faith donations of “apparently wholesome food,” defined as meeting “all quality and labeling standards imposed by federal, state and local laws and regulations even though the food may not be readily marketable due to appearance, age, freshness, grade, size, surplus or other condition.” Nonprofits can obtain food from food rescue programs as well as food banks (mentioned at 9. above). Food rescue programs typically obtain perishable and prepared foods (such as from restaurants and grocery stores) and distribute it to agencies that feed hungry people, usually later that same day.  http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2010-title42/html/USCODE-2010-title42-chap13A-sec1791.htm

Statistics
  • Households in the U.S. throw out an estimated $900 per household and $161 billion nationwide per year.  That is 30-40% of the food supply.  ("WAsted food a bigger problem than people realize, report says," by Bianca Seidman, CBS News and the USDA, June 24, 2015)

  • 24% of produce is tossed out before it reaches the grocery store in North America.  Another 28% is thrown out at home. 

    Apeel Sciences has discovered a way to greatly extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables, possibly 5 times the shelf life, by using food to preserve food.  They do this by using an organic material to place a thin barrier of plant material on the outside of produce.  That thin barrier slows down the rate that water gets out of the produce, and it slows down the rate that oxygen gets in.  By doing that, they can naturally preserve the life of fresh produce.  ("How organic material is being used to extend shelf life of fresh produce," CBS News, March 2, 2017) 

  • “Nearly one-third of food produced in the U.S. goes to waste - more than $160 billion each year.  Yet, for 1 in 6 Americans, nearly 50 million people, there is no access to healthy or affordable food.  “We are literally wasting a Rose Bowl Stadium full of food every single day in this country,” said  Doug Rauch, Founder of Daily Table.  (see the Daily Table story below)   “New twist on the supermarket for low-income families,” by reporter Michelle Miller, CBS This Morning, June 17, 2015

What You Can Do
  • If you have food that is left over from a catered event, which you would like to donate instead of throwing it away after the event, contact Feed Spokane (listed under our Resources tab) which helps supplement meals at 55 charities in Spokane.  They will pick up the food - if it has not been taken outside the kitchen where the public has had any contact with it, creating a food safety issue.  They can also work directly with your caterer, and provide disposable containers.

  • Not-for-Profit Grocery Store.   Daily Table is a new nonprofit grocery store in Boston on a missions to solve two problems:  preventing tons of food from going to waste, and offering healthy, quality food to low-income families at an affordable price. They collect donations and sometimes purchase products that are close to expiration, and then resell them at rock-bottom prices.  Doug Rauch, Founder of Daily Table says, “Daily Table is designed around reaching that part of the population that food banks don’t normally get to reach - the working poor, people that wouldn’t go to a soup kitchen or a pantry, and quite frankly speaking don’t want a handout.”    “New twist on the supermarket for low-income families,” reporter Michelle Miller, CBS This Morning, June 17, 2015

Local Organizations
Additional Resources