Policy and Law

 

Below is a list of national legislation and policies related to food recovery. For DC-specific resources, click here.


Table of Contents

Food Donation
Policy
Animal Feed

 


Food Donation

Liability Protection

The Federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996
Federal liability protection for anyone donating food in good faith to a 501c3 non profit.

DC Food Donation Liability Protection
The DC law related to liability protection for food donation is D.C. Code Ann. § 48-301. The law provides criminal and civil liability protection to food businesses that donate food to a non-profit that distributes food for free or a nominal charge. This protection applies unless there is evidence of gross negligence or intentional misconduct by the donor.

  • Extends the same liability coverage as Bill Emerson Act
  • DC’s Food Code allows donation of unserved food
  • DGS/DOH Shared Table Guidance
    • DC’s Food Code allows re-serving “not potentially hazardous” food that has been served to someone but not eaten on a share table.
    • Re-serving “potentially hazardous” foods (e.g. milk) requires applying for a DOH variance.

Food Recovery in the District of Columbia: A Legal Guide
The Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic partnered with the DC Food Recovery Working Group to publish the “Food Recovery in the District of Columbia: A Legal Guide” which lays out laws and policies related to food recovery in DC.

DC Save Good Food Act (Passed in Feb 2019)
1) Providing a tax credit for grocery stores, restaurants, and urban farms that donate healthy foods to charitable organizations;
2) Expanding liability protections for food donors that donate directly to individuals, and for non-profit organizations that charge a small fee to cover the handling and preparation of food donations;
3) Requiring DOH to only require date labels on food products where there is an increased safety risk related to when the date passes; and
4) Requiring DOH and the Office of Waste Diversion (in DPW) to develop a food donation guide, including safety regulations, best practices, and a list of organizations that accept donated food. DOH will also have to train health inspectors on the information in the guide.

Tax Incentives

Federal Business Tax Incentives for Food Donations Guide
This is a guide on how to receive federal tax incentives for businesses donating food.

CHLPI: Federal Business Tax Incentives for Food Donations Guide
This is a guide on how to receive federal tax incentives for businesses donating food.

Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP)
VA State Tax Credits for donating food

Maryland Food Donation Tax Credit Pilot Program
Tax credit for farmers donating food

DC Save Good Food Act (Passed in Feb 2019)
1) Providing a tax credit for grocery stores, restaurants, and urban farms that donate healthy foods to charitable organizations;
2) Expanding liability protections for food donors that donate directly to individuals, and for non-profit organizations that charge a small fee to cover the handling and preparation of food donations;
3) Requiring DOH to only require date labels on food products where there is an increased safety risk related to when the date passes; and
4) Requiring DOH and the Office of Waste Diversion (in DPW) to develop a food donation guide, including safety regulations, best practices, and a list of organizations that accept donated food. DOH will also have to train health inspectors on the information in the guide.

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Policy

Keeping Food Out of the Landfill: Policy Ideas for States and Localities
The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic published this toolkit to provide comprehensive information on eight different policy areas that states and localities can consider as they ramp up efforts to reduce food waste. The toolkit includes recommendations for each of the policy areas, which can be utilized by legislators, advocates, food donors, and food recovery organizations to call for policy changes. Each section of the toolkit describes the relevant federal laws, provides state examples, and offers the Clinic’s policy recommendations.
The policy areas are:
• Liability Protection for Food Donations;
• Tax Incentives for Food Donations;
• Date Labeling;
• Food Safety for Food Donations;
• Food Waste Reduction in K-12 Schools;
• Feeding Food Scraps to Livestock;
• Organic Waste Bans and Waste Recycling Laws; and
• Government Support for Food Waste Reduction.

Food Waste Policy Finder
ReFED and the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic collaborated to develop the Food Waste Policy Finder in order to provide an overview of current federal and state policies related to food waste. The tool is intended to depict the existing policy landscape while highlighting best-practice legislation in order to promote the continued development and implementation of sound food waste policy.

Food Recovery in the District of Columbia: A Legal Guide
The Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic partnered with the DC Food Recovery Working Group to publish the “Food Recovery in the District of Columbia: A Legal Guide” which lays out laws and policies related to food recovery in DC.

DC Save Good Food Act (Passed in Feb 2019)
1) Providing a tax credit for grocery stores, restaurants, and urban farms that donate healthy foods to charitable organizations;
2) Expanding liability protections for food donors that donate directly to individuals, and for non-profit organizations that charge a small fee to cover the handling and preparation of food donations;
3) Requiring DOH to only require date labels on food products where there is an increased safety risk related to when the date passes; and
4) Requiring DOH and the Office of Waste Diversion (in DPW) to develop a food donation guide, including safety regulations, best practices, and a list of organizations that accept donated food. DOH will also have to train health inspectors on the information in the guide.

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Animal Feed

Leftovers for Livestock: A Legal Guide for Using Food Scraps as Animal Feed
The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic published this guide covering federal laws, state regulations, and recommendations for using food scraps to feed animals. 

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