FDIA Paves Way for Increased Food Donations

If potential liability has hindered your food donations to food banks or community feeding centers in the past, now you don’t have any excuse to NOT help those facing food insecurity (and decrease food waste).

In early January President Biden signed the Food Donation Improvement Act of 2021 into law. The bill enhances coverage of the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act (Emerson Act) of 1996, which promotes food donation by providing civil and criminal liability protection to food donors and food recovery organizations. Despite the protection under the Emerson Act, many retailers and foodservice outlets feared liability as a result of food donations.

The FDIA extends liability protections for qualified direct food donations. Examples of this could be a school cafeteria or local restaurants donating excess food directly to food-insecure individuals. The new bill also covers food donations to outlets selling food at a greatly reduced price, such as “pay what you can afford” restaurants.

The FDIA also makes the U.S. Department of Agriculture responsible for regulating the donations, which lends credibility to food donations and in the future will provide clarity on food expiration/sell by dates on food package labeling. (A recent New York Times article sheds even more light on food expiration dates and what should be followed strictly — or not.)

So now you should have no reservations about donating product to SeaShare – the liability protections are here and those facing food insecurity desperately need nutritious seafood. If you have questions about donations, contact Executive Director Jim Harmon.