Good Samaritan Laws

The good news about "Good Sam" Laws

Good Samaritan laws that protect donors, nonprofit food banks and meal programs from liability for the foods and other essentials they donate and provide are now uniform throughout the country. For many years, Washington State has given donors and nonprofit food providers great protection from liability, and The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996 makes it even easier to donate. You and your company can donate without fear of liability in the unlikely event something happens to the donated product once it leaves your control. 

The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Law

  • Protects donors from liability when donating to a non-profit organization;
  • Protects donors from civil or criminal liability if the donor believes, in good faith, that the product is okay at the time it is donated; 
  • Requires establishment of “gross negligence” or intentional misconduct before a donor is considered liable for harm caused by a donation; 
  • Establishes a minimum standard throughout the country (no more multi-state research for companies doing business in more than one state); 
  • Recognizes that donation of food close to the date of recommended retail sale is not, in and of itself, grounds for finding gross negligence. 

State Law also covers 

  • Non-food grocery products, and
  • Prepared and perishable food donations.