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Policy Issue: Liability Protection

Lack of clear or comprehensive legal protections can result in food donors discarding safe, surplus food instead of donating it to food recovery organizations.

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Atlas Research: Liability Protection

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Issue Brief

The issue brief provides an overview on liability protection legislation and highlights global best practices to optimize and communicate protection so that donors, food recovery organizations, and other stakeholders are empowered to donate rather than discard safe surplus food.

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Webinar Synopsis

We brought together government stakeholders for an in-depth conversation about liability protection for food donation.

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Best Practices: Liability Protection

All countries should implement the following best practices to ensure that food is not lost or wasted due to unclear or nonexistent liability protection laws:

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Pass Liability Protection Policy

Provide liability protection to food donors and/or food recovery organizations, or otherwise help reduce the risk of liability due to food donations.

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Raise Awareness about Liability Coverage

Designate an agency or department to implement and raise awareness about existing liability protections and to provide guidance on defenses that actors can use to prevent liability. Additionally, provide guidance on applicable food safety requirements relevant to liability protection.

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Extend Liability Coverage

Ensure that the coverage extends to direct donations to individuals as well as donations made to food recovery organizations and other intermediaries that charge recipients a nominal fee for donated food. Further, adopt a dual date labeling scheme, and permit food donation after the quality-based date.

Countries with Strong Policies: Liability Protection

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Argentina offers comprehensive national liability protections for food donors and food recovery organizations. The liability protection contained in Argentina’s Food Donation Law covers both food donors that offer food for free to populations in need and to food recovery organizations that operate in good faith.

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The 2020 Food Donation Law grants civil and criminal liability protection to donors and intermediary organizations. The protections apply if donors donate food to qualifying intermediary charitable organizations or directly to final beneficiaries that distribute the food to populations in need as long as they do not act with intent to harm.


More details on Brazil coming soon.

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United States

The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act of 1996 provides comprehensive national protection from civil and criminal liability to food donors and the nonprofit food recovery organizations that distribute food donations at no cost to populations in need.

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Under the 2018 Food Donation Encouragement Law, Israel offers civil and criminal liability protection for food donors and food recovery organizations that follow all applicable laws.

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Mapping food donation policies around the world

The Atlas evaluates laws and policies across the most relevant issue areas relating to food donation and food loss and waste. Explore the map to compare and contrast existing legislation and learn from best practices around the world.

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