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Food Donation Improvement Act

On January 5, 2023 President Biden signed into law the Food Donation Improvement Act (FDIA). The bipartisan Bill passed in the Senate by unanimous consent and in the House by voice vote at the end of December 2022. FDIA builds on the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act which, since 1996, has encouraged the donation of surplus food by providing liability protection. While the Emerson Act was a critical first step for the legitimacy of the food rescue industry, the Act left unanswered questions that kept many food businesses fearful of donating. As ReFED’s U.S. Food Waste Policy Finder explains, the bill provides clarity in the following ways:

  • Improves federal oversight of liability protections for food donation under the Emerson Act by delegating authority of the Act to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and requiring USDA to write regulations explaining the safety and labeling requirements that must be met to maintain protection under the Act;

  • Expands liability protections to food donations to include not only food given for free to the end recipient but also food sold at a reduced price to cover the cost of handling the products;

  • Expands liability protections to include not only donations made via a nonprofit intermediary, but also donations made by a retail grocer, wholesaler, agricultural producer, restaurant, caterer, school food authority, and institution of higher education that donate food directly to individuals.

FeedHV is proud to contribute to the reduction of food waste and food insecurity initiatives. Informative resources provided by Food Rescue Hero, ReFED and Harvard Law School’s Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation were critical to both the passing of this law as well as helping small non-profits, like ours, to better understand it’s impacts.

It is important that these topics are being discussed and supported by bipartisan action and it is hopeful that the increased clarity provided by FDIA will result in more donations and less waste for our community. If you have any questions about this or related topics, please contact us at


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