In 1996, President Clinton signed into law The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.

What does the law do?
The law protects good-faith food donors from civil and criminal liability, should the product later cause harm to its recipient. The Emerson Act gives uniform federal protection to food donors who may cross state lines.

Who is protected?
The law protects food donors, including individuals, and nonprofit feeding programs who act in good faith. While exceptions are made for gross negligence, the law states that test groups will not be subject to civil or criminal liability.

More specifically, the law protects individuals, corporations, partnerships, organizations, associations, governmental ententies, wholesalers, retailers, restauranteers, caterers, farmers, gleaners, nonprofit agencies, and more.

What sort of food is procted?
The Emerson Act provides protection for food and grocery products that meet all quality and labeling standards imposed by federal, state and local laws and regulations even though the food may not be “readily marketable due to appearance, age, freshness, grade, size, surplus or other conditions.”

Alabama Safe Foods Act of 2000
Section 4. Nothing in this act shall prohibit the donation of any food by any sales establishment, food manufacturer, or food distributor to an organization defined under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. Nor shall the provisions of this act prohibit the sale, donation, or other distribution of any food by a Section 501(c)(3) organization to a Section 501(c)(3) organization. Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the term food as used in this section shall not include an out-of-date Class A food or an adulterated food as defined by law.