Legal Misconceptions Prevents Donations

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Image Credit: 5 Loaves Food Pantry Facebook page



What is the real reason most Supermarkets trash food rather than donating it?  How can we reduce waste? Is there a financially viable solution everyone can agree with? Hearts and minds battle with questions such as these every single day.

“Best before” and “best by” dates, seen on the packaging of a wide variety of food items, are recommendations.  The “use by date” is more significant because foods with this label go bad quickly.

Businesses discard food before it the expiration date to make room for fresher items. This is a common business practice. Rather than donate food items to a food bank, food pantry or a meal programs, supermarket management opt to trash it.

Food Banks, Food Pantries and Meal Programs

The distinction between food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens is readily apparent once you understand their respective focus. Food banks collect and store food, food pantries directly distribute food items to those in need and soup kitchens offer prepared food and hot meals to the hungry for free or at reduced prices.

Garland’s three food pantries, the 5 Loathes Food Pantry, the Seven Loaves Food Pantry and Life Message, provide much needed support to thousands of needy people. These non-profit charitable entities would benefit from supermarkets and their donations. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen as long legal misconceptions persist.

What is the real reason most Supermarkets trash food rather than donating it? Businesses discard food before it the expiration date to make room for fresher items. Food banks, food pantries and meal programs provide a much-needed service to numerous families and individuals.

Food Banks, Food Pantries and Meal Programs

Garland’s three food pantries, the 5 Loathes Food Pantry, the Seven Loaves Food Pantry and Life Message, provide much-needed support to thousands of needy people. These non-profit charitable entities would benefit from supermarkets and their donations. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen as long legal misconceptions persist.

Image Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The distinction between food banks, food pantries and meal programs is readily apparent once you understand their respective focus. While food banks collect and store food, food pantries directly distribute food items to those in need.

Image Credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Meal programs, sometimes referenced as soup kitchens, prepared meals to the hungry. These meals, both hot and cold, are usually offered without charge or at an affordable price.

Charitable organisations provide much-needed assistance to families and individuals that would otherwise go hungry.

Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act of 1996

If supermarket owners understood the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act of 1996, they would see their fears of being sued are erroneous.

Designated “Liability for Damages from Donated Food and Grocery Products,” the section of the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act of 1996 addressing the liability of a person, a gleaner and a non-profit organization, is explicitly clear.

To combine the sub-sections pertaining to a person and gleaner with the one addressing non-profit organizations, these entities “shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability arising from the nature, age, packaging, or condition of apparently wholesome food or an apparently fit grocery product that the person or gleaner donates in good faith to a non-profit organization for ultimate distribution to needy individuals.” Despite this point, as it is with most things in daily life, there are exceptions.

The act reads, the sub-sections pertaining to liability from donated food and grocery products for a person, a gleaner  and non-profit organizations “shall not apply to an injury to or death of an ultimate user or recipient of the food or grocery product that results from an act or omission of the person, gleaner, or non-profit organization, as applicable, constituting gross negligence or intentional misconduct.”