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Good Samaritan Food Donation Law

posted on Wed, Jan 8 2014 1:18 pm by Mid-States Region

The Ohio Public Health Association (OPHA) contacted the Network for information about regulations that govern the donation of unused food by hotels and event centers to homeless shelters and other social service programs in need. Hotels and event centers frequently refuse to donate food, citing public health rules or hotel policies intended to avoid liability for any health problems caused by the donated food.

The Network researched the issue and found that Ohio has a Good Samaritan food donation law that protects donors, including hotels, from liability from any harm the donated food causes if it is donated to an agency that distributes such food to those in need. Hotels must determine that the food, at the time of donation, is fit for human consumption. The requestor was provided with a resource outlining the relevant portions of the law as well as definitions of key terms in the law.

OPHA was happy to learn that it can act as a facilitator to connect hotels with homeless shelters or other organizations meeting the definition of “agency” under the food donation law to encourage donations to communities in need.