Food Safety

There's no danger in donating food to County Harvest. Both New York State and the federal government have laws protecting food donors from liability.


The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act

The Child Nutrition Act of 1966, as amended (which can be found at 42 U.S.C. Section 1771 et. seq) encourages the donation of food and grocery products to nonprofit organizations for distribution to needy individuals by limiting the liability of those who provide food. Please note however, that the donation of food and grocery products may also be subject to certain state and local restrictions.


New York State Law

Enacted 1981, Article 4-D, Section 71-2

71-Z Liability for canned, perishable food or farm products distributed free of charge

  1. Not withstanding any other provision of law, a good faith donor of any canned or perishable food or farm product, apparently for human consumption, to a bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization, for free distribution shall not be subject to criminal penalty or civil damages arising from the condition of the food, if the said donor reasonably inspects the food at the time of donation and finds the food apparently for human consumption and unless the donor has actual or constructive knowledge that the food is adulterated, tainted, contaminated or harmful to the health or well-being of the person consuming said food.
  2. The second section includes the good faith donation of canned or perishable food or farm products not readily marketable due to appearance, freshness, grade, surplus or other consideration, but shall not be deemed or construed to restrict the authority of any lawful agency to otherwise regulate or ban the use of such food for human consumption.