Millions of pounds of food and groceries go to waste each year. To encourage companies and organizations to donate healthy food that would otherwise go to waste, they are protected from criminal and civil liability under the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.

The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act

On October 1, 1996, President Clinton signed this act to encourage donation of food and grocery products to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations for distribution to individuals in need. The law protects all food and grocery donors, including individuals, corporations, partnerships, associations, governmental entities, wholesalers, manufacturers, retailers, farmers, gleaners and nonprofit feeding program administrators who donate food and grocery products in good faith. Grocery products can include non-food products, such as disposable paper or plastic products, household cleaning products, laundry detergent, personal care items or miscellaneous household items. While exceptions are noted for gross negligence and intentional misconduct, the law states that these groups will 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 donated in good faith.

To make a donation or receive more information, please contact our food sourcing team at or call 330.535.6900.