1.) The whole point of the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Act is that it overrides state laws, so that all companies don't have to worry about individual states. Unless you can cite an example of a local law that overrides the Bill Emerson Food Act, the liability concerns are only a belief and there are no actual laws that stop it from happening.
Not American but I had this similar discussion with a lawyer friend who is and he stated the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Act doesn't override state law, it actually explicitly states you need to be compliant with state laws as well. It also has exceptions for gross negligence which he says knowingly providing goods passed their expiry date would be a very strong argument to take to court to invalidate the protection of Good Samaritan Food Act as that could easily be argued as gross negligence.
Here in Australia many of the large retailers already donate excess food to local charities.
It only mentions that in the context of health. The text only says:
"‘‘Nothing in this section shall be construed to supercede State or local health regulations.’’.
Food waste and food insecurity are both very real and very large problems in the United States. Nonprofit organizations have identified these problems and have attempted to address them through food recovery. However, the perceived threat of liability has prevented many potential food donors from participating in these programs. State governments sought to encourage food recovery efforts by providing varying degrees of liability protection to those participating in food recovery efforts. However, the varied approaches by the states failed to provide the uniformity and certainty that businesses desire.
Congress saw that state-level liability protections were not reducing food waste or food insecurity; instead, these well-intentioned efforts were creating another barrier to donors because of their varied approaches. In 1996, Congress passed the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act (“Bill Emerson Act”) to address these issues. The Bill Emerson Act reduces potential donor liability and solves the problems created by a patchwork of various state laws through partial preemption. It also enables and encourages food recovery to help those that are food insecure.
Regrettably, 17 years after its passage, the Bill Emerson Act remains an underutilized tool. Increased food recovery serves the primary goal of reducing hunger and the secondary goal of decreasing the amount of material that finds its way into the local landfill. Unfortunately, many in the retail food industry are not aware of the Bill Emerson Act and the protections that it provides donors; some potential donors even believe it is illegal to donate food and grocery items. The primary purpose of this paper is to inform those involved in the retail food industry of the Bill Emerson Act and how it operates.