# LIABILITY

DISCLAIMER: the following only applies to the U.S.

## TLDR

Here’s a handy LIABILITY FLOW CHART that will get you started.

Also please check out our friends at the Freedge’s manifesto the Liability Myth , that goes into detail about the stigma-perpetuating and non-profit-industrial-complex-supporting implications of all the below.

For those who want to get in the nitty gritty… keep reading

So you need to know that

## 1. Getting sued for donating food is not a thing

This report by the University of Arkansas School of Law found that

“lawsuits arising out of the donation or provision of recovered food are extremely uncommon. Indeed, a thorough search of filings and review of reported decisions did not turn up a single case that involved food donation-related liability or any attempts to get around the protections offered by the Bill Emerson Act. Additionally, several leading food recovery experts and antihunger advocates report that they are unaware of any such actual or threatened lawsuits. The absence of litigation or other disputes related to food donation demonstrates that fear of lawsuits or other negative publicity related to mishaps with donated food are overstated and largely illusory barriers to food recovery.”

## 2. You and your donors are protected under federal law… as long as you are a non-profit

If you’re already a non-profit, the federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act is your best friend, and will keep you safe as long as you fulfill these 4 requirements:

1. The donation must be made to a nonprofit organization.

2. The food must be donated to a nonprofit organization in good faith, meaning that the food must be donated with the honest belief that it is safe to eat

3. The donated items must be either apparently wholesome food or apparently fit grocery products

4. The nonprofit organization that receives the donated food must distribute it to needy individuals, who must not pay anything of monetary value for the donated food

For more info:

Liability Protection Food Donation.

### Cool. I’m not a non-profit. Now what?

It’s ok! You have options

#### 1. You’re probably fine anyway (see point 1 above)

Also, seriously, you’re fine if you’re in certain states (like CA, CO), so it’s worth looking at the specifics for your state. Also, good for you, for not being a part of this horrendous system :)

#### Do we need food safety training?

Nope, it’s not required, you just need to follow Best Management practices (BMP). Here’s a summary of those provided by our own Yolo County (BMP ), but I’m going to go over the key aspects below.

#### Where can food be served?

• At the LSCFO facility

• Outdoors for up to 4h a day. For this you’ll need a permit with the local city parks department or equivalent (see below)

#### What food can be served?

Everything (including expired food)

Exceptions

• Cooked food from unregistered home kitchens

• “microenterprise” home kitchens are allowed (see Foodnome)
• commercially pre-packaged foods, baked goods are allowed.
• Salvage operations (So i guess no dumpster diving treasures :( )

• Expired baby food and infant formula.

#### Equipment, utensils, food containers

Must be food-grade

#### Food storage

THIS IS IMPORTANT !!!

• All food

• at least six inches off the floor or on a pallet
• not be stored in restrooms or garages
• raw produce should be stored below ready-to-eat foods to prevent accidental cross-contamination.
• Potentially hazardous food (PHF): (i.e., deli meats, dairy products, cooked meats, cooked rice, cooked vegetables, etc.) are perishable and must be kept at 41°F or below. They can leave cold storage for:

• up to 30 minutes for transport
• up to 2 hours for active preparation or portioning
• up to 4 hours at a time in total. After 4h they should be served immediately or dumped.

A permanently affixed thermometer in cold holding equipment used for PHFs should be readily visible and placed in the warmest part of each refrigeration unit.

#### How to serve food

• Hair must be contained
• Food must be covered and protected
• Portioning food: use food-grade utensils, portion into food-grade containers and label them
• If food has been served to someone, it can’t be returned and served to someone else
• Use commercial-grade hand sanitizer or a handwash station to wash hands previously

Basically what this means is that you’ll have to keep an eye out to make sure people don’t open boxes and then leave them there, as those boxes are theoretically not fit for human consumption anymore.

## EVENT PERMIT

You will have to go to your local city web page, usually under Parks and Rec, and find the application form for an event or space reservation permit.

It will look something like this: Application Fields and Picnic

# TAX DEDUCTIONS

Wow ok, you’re ready to go to start donating food!! The last thing we’re going to talk about is the cherry on top for some businesses, which is that they get tax deductions for donating stuff, and people loooooove not paying taxes. So if you want to potentially attract some donors this way, here’s how to do it.

### Requirements for you to receive donations

1. You have to be a non-profit.

Yep. To offer tax deductions to any business you’re going to have to have 501(c)(3) non profit status, so that means either you’ve done the paperwork to become one, or you’re fiscally sponsored by one (see previous section i’m not a non-profit)

1. Your non-profit must serve the needy

2. Your non-profit must not charge money

### What you have to provide the donor

You should be able to provide to the donating business a statement with the following:

1. a description of the donated food, with the date
2. a statement that it’ll be used 1) by a non-profit that 2) serves the needy and 3) does not charge money.
3. a statement that you’re a tax-exempt non-profit (under federal I.R.C 501(c)(3) (yeah idk what that means either)) and you’ll have to provide the tax-exempt identification number (it should look something like this: affidavit for exemption)
4. a statement that adequate records will be kept and made available to the IRS upon request.

As the people who are receiving the donation, that’s all you gotta know, the donor can figure out the rest (aka how much taxes they don’t have to pay).

### For more info

Legal Guide: Tax Deduction for Food Donation