Stop food waste and fight food insecurity by amending the Emerson Act

Stop food waste and fight food insecurity by amending the Emerson Act

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Amend the Emerson Act by WW started this petition to US Congress

In 2020, over 17 million more Americans experienced food insecurity than in 2019. And in 2021, that number is estimated to rise even further—to 42 million people.

Meanwhile, $408 billion is spent processing, transporting, storing, and disposing of food that never gets eaten each year. That’s millions of pounds of fresh food—35% of all food in the U.S.—going to waste, instead of going to those who need it.

This barrier to improving food security is not always caused by a lack of food: It’s often caused by a mismanagement of food. 

But there’s good news: There are solutions in plain sight, and we need your help to take action. 

Meet the 1996 Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, a piece of legislation designed to encourage companies to donate their surplus food and grocery products to nonprofits by providing civil and criminal liability protection for food donation. So if you donated fresh lettuce, following all applicable laws and food safety protocols, and someone got sick after eating it, you couldn't be held liable. Sounds good, right? 

Well, many provisions of the Emerson Act are still unclear, so donors remain afraid of legal liability. In fact, food manufacturers, retailers, farmers, and restaurants still often cite fear of liability as the main reason they don’t donate food, which results in perfectly viable food being wasted—instead of given to those in need. 

Organizations, corporations, nonprofits, and food rescue advocates are calling on Congress to expand and clarify existing liability protections for food donation, which can help provide immediate relief to the millions of people across America experiencing food insecurity. The protections should accomplish the following: 

1. Direct USDA to clarify key terms and conditions within the Emerson Act to raise awareness and reduce fear of retribution.

2. Broaden protections to include more types of food donations, including items sold at low cost and donations offered from food businesses directly to end recipients.

3. Expand the federal enhanced tax deduction for food donation. We need you and your voice to help us spread the word.

We need you and your voice to help us spread the word. Let’s call on our representatives from Congress to fight food insecurity, and make senseless food waste a thing of the past

Update: Thanks in huge part to this petition, members of Congress have introduced a bill in both the House and Senate! The Food Donation Improvement Act of 2021 address two of our three major asks of Congress (numbers 1 and 2 above.) Now, we just need to get it passed! 

Your mission: Use this call tool to contact your Congresspeople (it just takes two clicks!) and urge them to cosponsor/support the legislation. They want see that their constituents care about this bill—so let's get loud!

0 have signed. Let’s get to 50,000!
At 50,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on Change.org!