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Israel: Legislation Exempting Food Donors from Liability Adopted

(Nov. 1, 2018) On October 22, 2018, the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) passed the Encouragement of Food Donations Law, 5779-2018 (SEFER HAHUKIM [SH] [BOOK OF LAWS] (official gazette) 5778 No. 2752 p. 10, Ministry of Justice website (in Hebrew; click on issue No. 2752)).

The Law exempts donors to food distribution organizations from civil and criminal liability for any harm caused by food donations except in cases of negligence. (Id. § 2(a).) Organizations that distribute food, as well as their employees and volunteers, are similarly exempt from civil or criminal liability, except in cases involving negligence, for harm caused by the transport, possession, or distribution of food donations. (Id. § 2(b).)

The Law authorizes the Minister of Health (MOH) to grant special recognition awards to food distribution organizations. The awards are to be granted annually in accordance with standards to be determined by the Minister and published in the official gazette and on the MOH website. (Id. § 3.)

Explanatory notes of the Law’s draft bill suggest that the population of those suffering from lack of food security, including children, has increased over the years. Food industry businesses, including restaurants, event establishments, and hotels, refrain from donating leftover food out of concern they may be held responsible for any harm caused by donating food. The Law is intended to encourage such businesses, as well as food distribution organizations, to donate their extra food to persons in need. (Encouragement of Food Donations Draft Bill, 5779-2018, Knesset Hatsaot Hok (Bills) No. 795 p. 220, available on the Knesset website.)