Forum: The Law of the Good Samaritan would preserve the rights of recipients of food donations to pursue recourse, Forum News & Top Stories

We thank Mr. Amos Wu Pom Hin for his letter: “Exempting the responsibility of food donors could pose more risks to vulnerable beneficiaries” (2 December).

We understand his concerns and thank him for sharing his important comments.

An inter-ministerial committee on food safety formed in 2012 found that food manufacturers and retailers were getting rid of unsold products instead of giving them away due to concerns about their liability.

Former Agribusiness and Veterinary Authority Chief Executive Officer Tan Poh Hong admitted that the lack of good Samaritan law hampers the potential for food redistribution.

Public consultation conducted from July 30 to September 12 of this year by the Good Samaritan Law Review Committee found that there is strong public support for a Good Samaritan Law that protects donors to prosecute when certain conditions to ensure food hygiene and safety are met.

Wu expressed legitimate concerns that any liability waivers should be accompanied by safeguards to ensure food hygiene and safety.

One guarantee the committee is considering is the introduction of strict food donation codes that would be enshrined in primary legislation for Good Samaritan Law.

Another safeguard is the proposed requirement that liability be waived for donations to accredited food charities only.

Notwithstanding any such waiver, the committee intends that Good Samaritan Law preserve the rights of beneficiaries to seek redress for damages suffered as a result of donor misconduct, for example when proposed codes are violated.

We are still reviewing the accreditation issue and will be meeting with food donation charities next month to better understand their concerns and work with them to develop an accreditation program.

The committee is continuing its consultations on the Good Samaritan Bill. We will consider other points raised by Mr. Wu in his letter, as well as comments from the public and stakeholders.

The committee will also conduct another round of public consultations once the bill is ready.

Charmaine yap


Good Samaritan Law Review Committee

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