Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 3. Donated Food.


§ 48–301. Immunity from liability.

(a) All other provisions of law notwithstanding, a good faith donor of food which is not known or believed to be unfit for human consumption, as defined in Chapter 1 of this title, or rules issued pursuant to that chapter at the time it is donated to a bona fide charitable or nonprofit organization or directly to an individual for consumption shall not be subject to criminal or civil liability arising from an injury or death due to the condition of such food unless such injury or death is a direct result of the gross negligence or intentional misconduct of such donor.

(b) All other provisions of law notwithstanding, a bona fide charitable or not-for-profit organization which in good faith receives and distributes food which is not known or believed to be unfit for human consumption, as defined in Chapter 1 of this title, or rules issued pursuant to that chapter at the time it is distributed, without charge or at a charge sufficient to cover the cost of handling and preparing such food, shall not be subject to criminal or civil liability arising from an injury or death due to the condition of such food unless such injury or death is a direct result of the gross negligence or intentional misconduct of such organization.


(Oct. 8, 1981, D.C. Law 4-39, § 2, 28 DCR 3391; Mar. 8, 1991, D.C. Law 8-245, § 2, 38 DCR 367; May 2, 2002, D.C. Law 14-116, § 3, 49 DCR 1945; Feb. 22, 2019, D.C. Law 22-212, § 201(a), 65 DCR 12927.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 33-801.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-116, in subsec. (a), substituted “Chapter 1 of this title, or rules issued pursuant to that chapter” for “§ 8-6:102 of Title 8 of the District of Columbia Health Regulations (published as Title 8 of the District of Columbia Regulations; 1962 Revision, as amended) (’Health Regulations’)”; and, in subsec. (b), substituted “Chapter 1, of this title, or rules issued pursuant to that chapter” for “§ 8-6:102 of Title 8 of the Health Regulations”.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3 of Food Regulation Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-128, August 3, 2001, 48 DCR 7939).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 3 of Food Regulation Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-147, October 23, 2001, 48 DCR 10183).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 3 of Food Regulation Temporary Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Law 14-55, December 6, 2001, law notification 49 DCR 356).

Editor's Notes

Section 8-6:102 of Title 8 of the District of Columbia Health Regulations, referred to in (a) has been superseded by the DCMR. See now 23 DCMR 9902.


§ 48–302. Authority of Mayor.

Nothing in this chapter shall restrict the authority of the Mayor of the District of Columbia to inspect, condemn, denature, destroy, seize, or remove food for human consumption pursuant to § 22-2903 [repealed].


(Oct. 8, 1981, D.C. Law 4-39, § 3, 28 DCR 3391.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 33-802.


§ 48–303. Date labels.

(a) The Department of Health shall not:

(1) Require a date label on food products that, based on current scientific evidence, do not pose an increased safety risk to consumers by a stated period; or

(2) Limit the sale or donation of food products after their date label has passed, except for those food products that pose an increased safety risk to consumers when consumed after the date on the label.

(b) Within 120 days after February 22, 2019, the Department of Health shall issue rules to implement the provisions of this section.

(c) For the purposes of this section, the term "date label" refers to any date labeled on a food product, including those accompanied by the phrase "Best By", "Use By", "Sell By", "Best Before", "Expiration date", or any other descriptive phrase or date that is determined by the manufacturer to estimate when the food product might expire for use or be at its peak quality if it was handled and stored in a certain manner.


(Oct. 8, 1981, D.C. Law 4-39, § 3a; as added Feb. 22, 2019, D.C. Law 22-212, § 201(b), 65 DCR 12927.)


§ 48–304. Food donation guide and training.

(a) The Department of Health, in conjunction with the Office of Waste Diversion within the Department of Public Works, shall create a guide for food donors and donees that includes:

(1) All food safety regulations that apply to food donations in the District, including liability protections, tax credits, or incentives available to food donors;

(2) What foods may be donated safely;

(3) The best practices for storing and handling food donations; and

(4) A list of organizations in the District that accept food donations.

(b) The Department of Health shall train its employees who are involved in health inspections of businesses that donate food and organizations that receive donated food on the information in the guide developed pursuant to this section.

(c) Within 180 days after February 22, 2019, the Department of Health and the Office of Waste Diversion shall each make the guide available on its website.


(Oct. 8, 1981, D.C. Law 4-39, § 3b; as added Feb. 22, 2019, D.C. Law 22-212, § 201(b), 65 DCR 12927.)