New bill encourages Americans to donate food to help more needy people

Washington D.C. Bureau

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — As food banks ask for more food to help the hungry, institutions or donors often hesitate to give leftover food away because the food is near its expiration date.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, from Pennsylvania, wants to stop that food from going to waste.

“Get that food donated so that it’s that much more food that goes to needy Americans,” Toomey said.

Toomey, along with Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, introduced a bill providing grocery stores, schools, and caterers, along with food banks, liability protection.

“They should be spared the kind of worry about liability so that they can use food that is donated to them,” Blumenthal said.

“I think there’s an opportunity for more institutions to give more food to the food banks, and the shelters, and the soup kitchens that serve needy people, rather than have that food end up in a landfill,” Toomey said.

The bill provides a “good Samaritan” coverage to those who want to donate food, to ensure more food will get to those who need it.

“It wouldn’t be food that’s gone bad. I mean, this is good, healthy, normal food. But sometimes in that context, there are legal issues,” Toomey said.

“They can be secure. They won’t have excess legal responsibility if there’s excess food that can help others,” Blumenthal said.

The bill requires the USDA to issue clarified label and quality regulations for donated food.

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