No, actually donating leftover food to a local food back isn’t illegal or a liability for meeting planners and their organizations. Although this is often what we hear from venues and caterers. But don’t take my word for it. Enter…The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.

What does the law do?
The law protects good-faith donors from civil and criminal liability in the event that the product later causes harm to its recipient. The Emerson Act gives uniform protection to food donors who may cross state lines.

Who is protected?
The law protects food donors, including individuals and nonprofit feeding programs that act in good faith. More specifically, the law protects individuals, corporations, partnerships, organizations, associations, governmental entities, wholesalers, retailers, restaurateurs, caterers, farmers, gleaners, nonprofit agencies, and others.

What sort of food is protected?
The Emerson Act provides protection for food and grocery products that meet 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 conditions.

Where can I get a copy of the law?
For a copy of the Bill Emerson Food Donation Act, just click on this link http://www.usda.gov

Where can I find a place to donate?
Find a local food bank using the locator on America’s Second Harvest website http://www.secondharvest.org/

Wait, what abut Canada?
Canadian provinces have their own laws that protect donors of food from liability. Each province is different so check with the city’s food bank to ensure provincial legislation exists.