Food Donation Liability

The Giving Season!

During the holiday season, many of us turn our attention toward those who are less fortunate. Any time is a great time to volunteer at a soup kitchen, make cards for hospital patients, or donate food!  The holidays, though, truly seems to give people more of a reason to get out and give back!

Donating food is one of the most popular ways to give back to the community during the holidays. Schools, offices, and religious centers often host food drives. People can bring non-perishable items like canned soups, vegetables, pasta, or powdered milk. For holiday occasions, some organizations even collect turkeys, pies, and hot dishes and deliver them fresh to people in need. For people who want to do something good, but cannot find the time, food donations are an easy way to help.

If you’re planning to dig through your pantry for something to donate, keep liability in mind. Even though you are doing a good thing, you don’t want to inadvertently donate a product that is spoiled or recalled. According to Florida Statutes, if you donate food with good faith, you cannot be held liable for any sickness or damage that may arise. However, the law adds that “gross negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of the donor” could result in criminal penalties or civil damages.

Think Before You Donate

If you inspect a food for any issues  you will not be responsible for any injuries that may occur. However, if you see that a product has gone bad, but still donate it anyway, your negligence may cause harm. Of course, tampering with a food product before donation with the intent of harm would also fall under intentional misconduct. To knowingly damage a food donation to a needy person, someone would have to have very cruel intentions. However, negligently donating a bad product, even with good intentions, could have the same unfortunate effect.

The vast majority of people act in good faith when it comes to food donation. We know that you will, too! Just remember to check all products for freshness or any obvious damage. Better yet, pick up a few new cans of food instead of rummaging through your pantry for something suitable.  Act in good faith, and your donations will always be appreciated.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.


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