Yesterday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Good Samaritan Food Donation Act (AB 1219), introduced by Assembly Member Susan Eggman (D-Stockton), which expands the state’s liability protections for food donations. The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC) has been working closely with advocates in California since the inception of the bill, and we are excited to see it go into effect.
Specifically, AB 1219 expands liability protections to cover donations of food given directly from food donors to end recipients, as long as the donor makes a good faith evaluation that the food is safe to eat. It also explicitly provides protections for past-date foods that are fit for human consumption. Finally, it requires health inspectors to promote food recovery and educate local businesses and organizations about existing liability protections for food donations. See our earlier blog post for more information. These provisions will go a long way toward reducing confusion and promoting food donations in California.
Food insecurity affects 1 in 8 Californians and 1 in 4 children, while food waste is the largest component of waste sent to landfills in the state. AB 1219 addresses these issues jointly by improving liability protections for food donors across the state. As Assembly Member Stockton commented, “Reducing food insecurity is an achievable goal. My bill will cut down the amount of food ending up in landfills by encouraging donors to help hungry Californians.” We applaud California for this exciting achievement!