Legislation sponsored by Senator Dawn Marie Addiego holding colleges and universities that donate food to charitable organizations harmless from civil liability has been signed into law by Governor Chris Christie.
“Even food that is donated to the needy with the best of intentions can spoil or be contaminated in some way, and the donor very likely would have no idea,” said Addiego (R- Burlington/Atlantic/Camden). “Student groups at colleges and universities are getting more active in combating hunger in their communities as attention is increasingly drawn to the issue. These students and institutions should not have to suffer through a legal drama because, in the process of trying to do good, the beneficiary accidentally became sick. Such cases are accidents not worthy of blame and punitive damages.”
S-327 adds these institutions to the list of organizations that, by law, are immune from liability for injuries or illness incurred by individuals consuming donated food products or meals.
The legislation was inspired by a group of Rutgers students who used their meal plans to purchase and deliver meals to a local soup kitchen. While no incident resulted from the donated food, the sponsors identified the need to shield those trying to help others from needless legal headaches.