KUALA LUMPUR: A Bill to protect food donors from civil liabilities was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (Oct 7).
The Food Donors Protection Bill 2019, which was tabled by Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumerism Minister Chong Chieng Jen for its first reading on Monday (Oct 7), is expected to be passed in the present sitting which ends on Dec 5.
The proposed law covers not only those donating food "without any payment or and form or consideration" but also volunteers or those involved in the distribution of such food.
Besides individuals, the protection against civil action also extends to corporations, foundations, government entities, manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, hypermarkets, supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, agricultural producers and charitable organisations.
The protection covers civil liability against any personal injury, disease or death by those who had consumed the donated or distributed food.
However, the protection is not absolute and a donor can be liable if it can be proven that the personal injury, disease or death was due to their negligence and wilful misconduct.
The protection is also lost if the donor failed to comply with legal food safety and hygiene requirements before donating or distributing the food.
Also the donor would not protected if the food was not safe for consumption at the time it was donated or distributed or that it was not made in good faith.
Under the Bill's explanatory section, the proposed new law is also aimed to encourage the public to donate food without fear of being sued as well as to support the government's Food Bank Programme.
The food bank programme was initially launched in Penang last August and was later extended to Kelantan, Melaka, Johor, Perak, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, and Negri Sembilan as well as public universities following it's success.
As of August this year, more than 650 tonnes of food have been distributed under the programme to about 238,000 recipients.
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