SACRAMENTO-- Assemblymember Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) introduced Assembly Bill 1219, the California Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, today that will update the 1977 law, a bold move that will make California a leader in the nation on food donation. California was the first state in the country to enact legislation that protects good faith food donors from liability in order to encourage food donations, and, this was subsequently adopted as national legislation.
California’s retailers, restaurants, consumers, and others discard millions of tons of wholesome, surplus food, often citing fears of getting sued as their top reason for not donating the food to food banks, food pantries, and other organizations that re-distribute food to individuals in need. Meanwhile, the state faces a hunger crisis that affects one in eight Californians, including one in four children.
“This legislation provides much-needed clarity for groups that want to help feed hungry people,” said Andrew Cheyne, Director of Government Affairs for California Association of Food Banks, a co-sponsor of the bill. “This is particularly the case for donors who have valuable sources of protein but hesitated donating because they lacked certainty about the state’s policy, by clearing this up we can get more food to people who need it the most.”
While no business has ever been sued for donating food, many businesses either don’t know about the existing protections or cite confusing or ambiguous provisions in the law.
The California Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, which would strengthen the state’s food donor protection laws in order to maximize food donation. AB 1219 will make clarifications, such as food donated past the date label printed on the product is not gross negligence, this is due to the fact that many date labels on food have nothing to do with safety and are merely an indication of peak freshness. AB 1219 also extends protections to good faith donors, for example, the bill provides protections for those who donate food directly to individuals, which can help to enable the timely use of perishable food as well as make smaller quantity donations more efficient.
“Wasting edible food not only does a disservice to those who are food insecure, but also wastes all the natural resources that have gone into growing and transporting that food,” Nick Lapis, Director of Advocacy for Californian's Against Waste, a co-sponsor of the bill, said “We commend Assemblymember Eggman for her continued commitment to ensuring that the food we grow, feeds people not landfills.”
California Association of Food Banks Website: http://www.cafoodbanks.org/
Californians Against Waste Website: http://www.cawrecycles.org/