Chapter 69.80 RCW

FOOD DONATION AND DISTRIBUTIONLIABILITY

Sections

69.80.010Purpose.
69.80.020Definitions.
69.80.031Good samaritan food donation actDefinitionsCollecting, distributing, gleaningLiability.
69.80.040Information and referral service for food donation program.
69.80.050Inspection of donated food by state and local agenciesVariance.
69.80.060Safe receipt, preparation, and handling of donated foodRulesEducational materials.
69.80.900Construction.


Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to promote the free distribution of food to needy persons, prevent waste of food products, and provide liability protection for persons and organizations donating or distributing such food products.



Definitions.

Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.
(1) "Distributing organization" means a charitable nonprofit organization under section 501(c) of the federal internal revenue code which distributes food free of charge and includes any nonprofit organization that distributes food free of charge to other nonprofit organizations or to the public.
(2) "Donor" means a person, corporation, association, or other organization which donates food to a distributing organization. "Donor" includes, but is not limited to, farmers, processors, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers of food. "Donor" also includes persons who harvest agricultural crops or perishable foods which have been donated by the owner to a distributing organization.
(3) "Food" means food products for human consumption as defined in RCW 69.04.008.



Good samaritan food donation actDefinitionsCollecting, distributing, gleaningLiability.

(1) This section may be cited as the "good samaritan food donation act."
(2) As used in this section:
(a) "Apparently fit grocery product" means a grocery product that meets all quality and labeling standards imposed by federal, state, and local laws and regulations even though the product may not be readily marketable due to appearance, age, freshness, grade, size, surplus, or other conditions.
(b) "Apparently wholesome food" means food that meets 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.
(c) "Donate" means to give without requiring anything of monetary value from the recipient, except that the term shall include giving by a nonprofit organization to another nonprofit organization, notwithstanding that the donor organization has charged a nominal fee to the donee organization, if the ultimate recipient or user is not required to give anything of monetary value.
(d) "Food" means a raw, cooked, processed, or prepared edible substance, ice, beverage, or ingredient used or intended for use in whole or in part for human consumption.
(e) "Gleaner" means a person who harvests for free distribution to the needy, or for donation to a nonprofit organization for ultimate distribution to the needy, an agricultural crop that has been donated by the owner.
(f) "Grocery product" means a nonfood grocery product, including a disposable paper or plastic product, household cleaning product, laundry detergent, cleaning product, or miscellaneous household item.
(g) "Gross negligence" means voluntary and conscious conduct by a person with knowledge, at the time of the conduct, that the conduct is likely to be harmful to the health or well-being of another person.
(h) "Intentional misconduct" means conduct by a person with knowledge, at the time of the conduct, that the conduct is harmful to the health or well-being of another person.
(i) "Nonprofit organization" means an incorporated or unincorporated entity that:
(i) Is operating for religious, charitable, or educational purposes; and
(ii) Does not provide net earnings to, or operate in any other manner that inures to the benefit of, any officer, employee, or shareholder of the entity.
(j) "Person" means an individual, corporation, partnership, organization, association, or governmental entity, including a retail grocer, wholesaler, hotel, motel, manufacturer, restaurant, caterer, farmer, and nonprofit food distributor or hospital. In the case of a corporation, partnership, organization, association, or governmental entity, the term includes an officer, director, partner, deacon, trustee, councilmember, or other elected or appointed individual responsible for the governance of the entity.
(3) A person or gleaner is not subject to civil or criminal liability arising from the nature, age, packaging, or condition of apparently wholesome food or an apparently fit grocery product that the person or gleaner donates in good faith to a nonprofit organization for ultimate distribution to needy individuals, except that this subsection does not apply to an injury to or death of an ultimate user or recipient of the food or grocery product that results from an act or omission of the donor constituting gross negligence or intentional misconduct.
(4) A person who allows the collection or gleaning of donations on property owned or occupied by the person by gleaners, or paid or unpaid representatives of a nonprofit organization, for ultimate distribution to needy individuals is not subject to civil or criminal liability that arises due to the injury or death of the gleaner or representative, except that this subsection does not apply to an injury or death that results from an act or omission of the person constituting gross negligence or intentional misconduct.
(5) If some or all of the donated food and grocery products do not meet all quality and labeling standards imposed by federal, state, and local laws and regulations, the person or gleaner who donates the food and grocery products is not subject to civil or criminal liability in accordance with this section if the nonprofit organization that receives the donated food or grocery products:
(a) Is informed by the donor of the distressed or defective condition of the donated food or grocery products;
(b) Agrees to recondition the donated food or grocery products to comply with all the quality and labeling standards prior to distribution; and
(c) Is knowledgeable of the standards to properly recondition the donated food or grocery product.
(6) This section may not be construed to create liability.

NOTES:

IntentFindingSeverabilityConflict with federal requirements1994 c 299: See notes following RCW 74.12.400.



Information and referral service for food donation program.

The department of agriculture shall maintain an information and referral service for persons and organizations that have notified the department of their desire to participate in the food donation program under this chapter.



Inspection of donated food by state and local agenciesVariance.

(1) Appropriate state and local agencies are authorized to inspect donated food items for wholesomeness and may establish procedures for the handling of food items.
(2) To facilitate the free distribution of food to needy persons, the local health officer, upon request from either a donor or distributing organization, may grant a variance to chapter 246-215 WAC covering physical facilities, equipment standards, and food source requirements when no known or expected health hazard would exist as a result of the action.

NOTES:

Effective date2002 c 217 § 3: "Section 3 of this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately [March 28, 2002]." [ 2002 c 217 § 4.]
FindingPurpose2002 c 217: "The legislature finds and declares that the distribution of food by donors to charitable organizations, such as shelters, churches, and fraternal organizations, serving communal meals to needy individuals can be done safely consistent with rules and recommended health and safety guidelines. The establishment of recommended donor guidelines by the department of health can educate the public about the preparation and handling of food donated to charitable organizations for distribution to homeless and other needy people. The purpose of this act is to authorize and facilitate the donation of food to needy persons in accordance with health and safety guidelines and rules, to assure that the donated food will not place needy recipients at risk, and to encourage businesses and individuals to donate surplus food to charitable organizations serving our state's needy population." [ 2002 c 217 § 1.]



Safe receipt, preparation, and handling of donated foodRulesEducational materials.

(1) No later than December 31, 2004, the state board of health shall promulgate rules for the safe receipt, preparation, and handling by distributing organizations of food accepted from donors in order to facilitate the donation of food, free of charge, and to protect the health and safety of needy people.
(2) No later than December 31, 2004, the department of health, in consultation with the state board of health, shall develop educational materials for donors containing recommended health and safety guidelines for the preparation and handling of food donated to distributing organizations.

NOTES:

FindingPurpose2002 c 217: See note following RCW 69.80.050.



Construction.

Nothing in this chapter may be construed to create any liability of, or penalty against a donor or distributing organization except as provided in RCW 69.80.031.

NOTES:

IntentFindingSeverabilityConflict with federal requirements1994 c 299: See notes following RCW 74.12.400.