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Debbie Balthazar

Debbie Balthazar

Research Assistant

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

How the Bill Emerson Act Can Reduce Wasted Food

Sault_Ste_Marie_food_donation_DVIDS1112500Every year 50 million Americans go hungry. At the same time, about 40 percent of the food grown annually in the U.S. never gets eaten, ending up in landfills. So why not just give the wasted food to those who are hungry? That’s easier said than done.

An article from the Los Angeles Times highlights one of the roadblocks. The article illustrates the valiant efforts of Shirley Wei Sher, a member of the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association (SCCLA), who wanted to end the annual cycle of having to throw away leftovers that could have potentially fed about 100 people. Sher planned to donate leftover food to a local charity, but was refused on the basis of being ‘“concerned about violating the local health code.”’ The refusal centered around the concern that donated food could make the recipients sick. This might be a legitimate concern, were it not for the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996, a federal law that shields potential food donors from liability. Read More >