Share My Meals met with House Representative to encourage  food donation by extending the liability protection for Food Donors

Princeton, NJ – Wednesday, July 13th — Share My Meals is part of a coalition of organizations promoting an amendment to a legislation that would give food donors clarity on food donation liability protection and grant them more flexibility to donate food that otherwise would go wasted.

On Tuesday, July 12, Share My Meals’s President and Co-founder Isabelle Lambotte met with members of the legislative team of Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill and Congressman Donald Norcross from New Jersey.

“The Food Donation Improvement Act (FDIA) will broaden protection to reassure Food Donors on their liability and will increase awareness on the two intertwined problems of food insecurity and food waste,” explained Mrs. Lambotte. “We strongly support the FDIA as it will help fight food waste and facilitate food donations.”

Share My Meals team represented by Isabelle Lambotte, Victoire Cleren, and Stan Berteloot, attended an event hosted by Food Tank and WW International, policymakers, business leaders, and food waste experts advocating for Congress to pass a new Bill intended to keep surplus food out of landfills and redirect it to those in need.

“This was a wonderful opportunity to advocate on our mission and to meet with other organizations. As we all share the same objective, we understood the importance to work together to develop and implement common food safety protocols and share our operational technology tools, two major drawbacks to recover more meals,” added Mrs. Lambotte.

The food service providers have committed to ZERO food waste by 2030. They have been very active in the first layer of the food waste pyramid which is food waste prevention. They are all very tempted by the food donation as a next step but scared about the liability and unable to manage the logistics behind food donation. This is where the FDIA comes into play.

“We’re a food rich nation, but we had extremes in hunger during the pandemic,” Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) tells Food Tank. 

Feeding America estimates that 42 million Americans will experience hunger in 2021. Despite this, 35 percent of the total food production in the United States went unsold or uneaten in 2019, according to research from ReFED. 

Pingree says that the bipartisan Food Donation Improvement Act is one solution to help get healthy, nutritious food to those experiencing food insecurity.

The Bill, recently introduced to the Senate by Senators Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) will update the existing Federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, passed by Congress in 1996.

Emily Broad Leib, Director of the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, tells Food Tank that the Bill Emerson Food Donation Act was “a visionary law,” intended to address the food waste and food insecurity crises. But, the panelists argue, it falls short. 

Steven Jennings, Brand Lead, Health & Sustainability for Ahold Delhaize USA explains that retailers still fear they are legally responsible for their donations. And in many cases, there is confusion around what they can or cannot donate. 

“The problem is it becomes more convenient and less worrisome to throw food in the dumpster,” Congressman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) tells Food Tank. 

The new Bill will strengthen liability protections for food businesses, including manufacturers, retailers, farmers, and restaurants who wish to donate surplus food. It will also clarify existing guidance and best practices to help businesses donate food safely and without risk of litigation. 

Rather than discuss hunger management, “we ought to be talking about zero hunger,” McGovern says. “So let’s make it easier for people to donate and businesses to donate, and I think we can get this done.”  

To help garner additional support for the Food Donation Improvement Act, companies including WW International are raising awareness about the Bill and are calling on Congress to pass it. 

Key facts about Share My Meals:

  • Share My Meals was created in January 2020
  • By the end of 2022 we’ll be working with up to 30 food donors
  • 140,000 healthy and nutritious meals distributed to over 180 families and 10 community partners (1000 people)
  • Serving Princeton, Montgomery, Lawrenceville, and Trenton
  • 40+ volunteers
  • Tech-enabled platform to assist logistics and assure compliance with high safety standards
  • More than $1.2 million budget in only two years
  • Seven employees, three of them are members of Share My Meals Inclusion Program

About Share My Meals

Share My Meals is a 501(c) (3) organization making the bridge between food donors with surplus meals to donate and the local communities in need. Founded in 2020, Share My Meals’ tagline is:

Save a meal, feed a family, protect the planet.

Note: Part of this article was written by Elena Seeley from Food Tank and used with her permission.