Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act of 1996

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Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act
Great Seal of the United States
Long titleAn act to encourage the donation of food and grocery products to nonprofit organizations for distribution to needy individuals by giving the Model Good Samaritan Food Donation Act the full force and effect of law.
Public lawPub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 104–210 (text) (PDF)
Statutes at Large110 Stat. 3011
Legislative history
  • Signed into law by President Bill Clinton on October 1, 1996

History of the law[edit]

The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act was enacted in 1996. It was spearheaded by member of congress, Bill Emerson, who died before the act passed. The law was named after him to recognize his work.

Description of the law[edit]

The law provides limited liability for individual, corporation, partnership, organization, association, or governmental entity which donate food to non-profits that feed the hungry. In other words, this law ensures that entities that donate food cannot be sued for proving expired or otherwise unfit to consume food to the hungry. [1]

This law has in place some limits to its protections:

  • Direct donations to hungry individuals are not covered by the law.
  • In cases of gross negligence this law will not award the donating entity any protections

Expansions to the law[edit]

The Federal Food Donation Act of 2008 built on the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act by encouraging federal agencies to donate excess food to nonprofit organizations, utilizing the exemption for civil and criminal liability provided for in the 1996 law. Federal contracts for the purchase of food valued at over $25,000 must make provision for contractors to donate apparently wholesome excess food to nonprofit organizations.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Good Samaritan Act Provides Liability Protection For Food Donations | USDA". Retrieved 2024-03-23.
  2. ^ Federal Acquisition Regulation 26.403-404

External links[edit]