Bipartisan legislation introduced Wednesday, looks to help food banks collect and distribute more food to needy families. Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut introduced the Food Donation Improvement Act of 2019 Wednesday.
The Senators say new and innovative food assistance models repurpose items from donating entities and sell prepared dishes like microwavable dinners for a nominal cost. But federal law does not currently extend liability protections to food donors when food is either given directly to a person in need or when a recipient pays a deeply reduced cost. Specifically, the legislation would extend liability protections to food-donating entities and food banks for food sold at a reduced price. The bill also would extend liability protections to qualified donors who give food directly to needy individuals and families without going through a non-profit intermediary. Finally, the legislation requires the Department of Agriculture to issue regulations clarifying the quality and labeling standards donated food must meet.
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