Liability: Food Donation
An individual who donates canned or perishable food to nonprofit or charitable organization for free distribution, or the nonprofit or charitable organization who distributes the food will not be held legally responsible for injuries or death related to the food. They can be held legally responsible if acting with extreme carelessness or intent to cause harm. This section only applies when the food was considered fit for human consumption at the donation or distribution.
Immunity of persons donating food for free distribution
(1) As used in this section, the following definitions apply: (a) “Canned food” means any food that has been commercially processed and prepared for human consumption. (b) “Donor” means any processor, distributor, wholesaler, or retailer of perishable or canned foods or farmer or individual who donates food for free distribution. (c) “Gleaner” means a person who harvests for free distribution perishable food that has been donated by the owner. (d) “Perishable food” means any food that may spoil or otherwise become unfit for human consumption because of its nature, type, or physical condition. Perishable food includes but is not limited to fresh or processed meats, poultry, seafood, dairy products, bakery products, eggs in the shell, fresh fruit and vegetables, grains, and foods that have been refrigerated or frozen. (2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law: (a) a good faith donor of any canned or perishable food, apparently fit for human consumption, to a bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization for free distribution or a gleaner of perishable food, apparently fit for human consumption, for free distribution is not subject to any criminal penalty or civil damages arising from the condition of the food, unless an injury is caused by gross negligence or intentional misconduct of the donor or gleaner; (b) a bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization that in good faith receives food, apparently fit for human consumption, and distributes it at no charge is not subject to any criminal penalty or civil damages resulting from the condition of the food unless an injury is caused by gross negligence or intentional misconduct of the organization. (3) Immunity under this section extends to the good faith donation of canned or perishable foods that, while apparently fit for human consumption, are not readily marketable due to appearance, grade, surplus, or other considerations, as well as to those foods that are readily marketable. (4) If the ultimate distributor charges any fee for the food received from a donor or gleaner, such fact shall not deprive the donor or gleaner of the immunity provided under this section. (5) This section does not restrict the authority of any lawful agency to inspect, regulate, or ban the use of donated food for human consumption.