HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2020
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
relating to food donation.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that more than ten per cent of Hawaii residents, including tens of thousands of children and seniors, are food insecure and receive food assistance through nonprofit organizations and government programs. Despite high levels of food insecurity, Hawaii businesses and residents discard more than 237,000 tons of food waste per year.
The legislature further finds that approximately twenty-six per cent of food grown in or imported to Hawaii is thrown away, amounting to approximately $1,000,000,000 in annual food waste. Worldwide, an estimated one-third of the food raised or prepared goes to waste, despite more than eight hundred million people experiencing hunger.
The legislature recognizes that food production is a direct contributor to local and global climate change. Food production requires energy, fertilizer, irrigation, livestock feed, and other resources that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and add pollutants to the environment. Food waste entering landfills creates methane gas, a greenhouse gas that is eighty-four times more potent than carbon dioxide. Worldwide, wasted food accounts for approximately eight per cent of all human-based greenhouse gas emissions.
The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act was passed by the United States Congress in 1996 to protect good-faith food donors from civil and criminal liability and to encourage the donation of food that would otherwise go to waste. Despite these protections, much of the wholesome surplus food in Hawaii and in other states is discarded instead of donated due to ambiguities in the existing statutes. A California survey found that forty-four per cent of manufacturers, forty-one per cent of restaurants, and twenty-five per cent of retailers identified fear of liability as their primary barrier to donating surplus food, in spite of existing liability protections.
The purpose of this Act is to discourage food waste and encourage food donation to needy recipients by:
(1) Clarifying and expanding liability protections for good-faith food donors;
(2) Allowing the donation of food that has passed its sell-by and freshness dates when the donor makes a good-faith judgment that the food is unspoiled; and
(3) Requiring that education about food donation liability protections be made a part of the health inspection process so that food establishments are aware of and assured of these provisions.
SECTION 2. Chapter 321, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
"§321- Promotion of food donation. The inspection of food establishments pursuant to this chapter shall include education of the establishment's owners, managers, or appropriate agents on the existence and operation of chapter 145D. The department shall publish and distribute materials to food establishments that explain the exceptions to civil and criminal liability for good faith food donations provided by section 145D-2."
SECTION 3. Section 145D-2, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
§145D-2[ ]] Exceptions to liability. (a)
Any donor of food products, who in good faith donates the food [ for]:
(1) Directly; or
(2) For the use or distribution by a charitable, religious, or nonprofit organization,
to needy persons shall not be liable for any civil
damages or criminal penalties for any injuries or illnesses including, but not
limited to, injuries or illnesses resulting from the nature, age, condition,
packaging, or handling of the donated food products, except for [
damages [ as may] that result from the donor's gross negligence or
wanton acts or omissions.
A charitable, religious, or nonprofit organization [
which in good
faith] or government entity that receives food[ ,] pursuant
to subsection (a) that is apparently fit for human consumption[ ,]
and distributes it in good faith to needy persons at no charge, shall
not be liable for any civil damages or criminal penalties resulting from the
condition of the food unless an injury or illness results from its gross
negligence, or wanton acts or omissions.
(c) This section shall not relieve any
organization or government entity from any other duty imposed [
them] by law for the inspection of donated food products or for any
provisions regarding the handling of [ such] those products.
(d) The exceptions to liability specified in subsection (a) shall include:
(1) The donation of perishable or nonperishable food that has exceeded the labeled shelf life date recommended by the manufacturer; and
(2) The donation of farm produce, including where the needy person is directly involved in the harvest of donated food;
provided that the good faith donor or distributor reasonably believes that the food is fit for human consumption.
(e) For purposes of this section:
"Donor" means any individual, food vendor, food manufacturer, food distributor, grocery or convenience store, charitable or nonprofit organization, or government agency donating food to hungry persons where the food in question has been prepared and packaged in a facility meeting all relevant food safety guidelines, certifications, and requirements and has passed all food safety inspections.
"Farm produce" means all agricultural, horticultural, and vegetable produce of the soil, but shall not include poultry and poultry products, livestock and livestock products, aquaculture and aquaculture products, and timber or timber products."
SECTION 4. Section 663-10.6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsections (a) and (b) to read as follows:
"(a) Any charitable or nonprofit organization that
in good faith provides shelter or proper means of subsistence to needy persons
as part of its bona fide and customary charitable activities, rendered without
remuneration or expectation of remuneration, shall be exempt from civil
liability for injuries and damages resulting from the organization's acts or
omissions in providing [
such] the shelter or subsistence, except
for gross negligence or wanton acts or omissions of the organization.
person] donor who donates goods, [ food,]
materials, or services [ to]:
(1) Directly to a needy person; or
(2) To a charitable or nonprofit organization described in subsection (a),
shall be exempt from civil liability for injuries and damages resulting from the donation, except for gross negligence or wanton acts or omissions."
SECTION 5. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.
SECTION 6. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 7. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
Food Donation; Charitable Giving; Liability
Clarifies and expands exceptions for good-faith food donations to needy persons. Allows for the donation of expired food when the donor makes a good-faith judgment that the food is unspoiled. Requires DOH to provide educational materials about food donation to establishments as part of the health inspection process.
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.