Rep. Marszalkowski’s bill that amends law to encourage food donation passes House
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Alex D. Marszalkowski’s (D-Dist. 52, Cumberland) legislation (2019-H 5322) which establishes comprehensive immunity provisions for individuals donating food to food banks passed the House of Representatives tonight.
“As a farmer, I’m keenly aware of the importance of avoiding waste. I’m very interested in solving the problems in the food stream that result in good food getting thrown away while people are going hungry in the same community. This kind of waste is senseless and harmful, but is often compelled by regulations about food safety and by the potential for litigation. This bill will help to eliminate the roadblocks while maintaining safety, and help businesses and organizations get excess food to people in need, instead of dumping it in the landfill,” said Representative Marszalkowski.
The purpose of the legislation is to provide incentives and protections to implement and increase food recovery and donations in Rhode Island.
The bill states that except for injury resulting from gross negligence or intentional misconduct in the preparation or handling of donated food, no individual or food facility that donates food to a food bank or charitable organization can be liable for any damage or injury resulting from the consumption of donated food. Individuals and organizations that donate perishable and nonperishable food that has exceeded its expiration date are protected from civil liability under the act if the person or food bank that distributes the food makes a good faith evaluation that they food is still fit for consumption. Food banks and organizations that distribute the food are also protected under the act.
The bill also calls for a public information campaign from food safety inspectors to retail food facility operators to promote the recovery and donation of safe and edible food by informing the food facility operators about the protections from civil and criminal liability when donating food.
The legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration.
For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903