Liability when giving away eggs to food pantry?


9 Years
Sep 8, 2010
Hi all. I love chickens and just increased my flock from the three whose eggs feed my family to more than we can possibly eat. My plan is to donate the considerable quantity of excess eggs to our local food pantry, which is always in need. But I wonder what happens if someone gets sick from eating my eggs. I know most or all people here are not lawyers, but perhaps some of you have insight. Thanks!

Best bet on that question is to check with the food pantry directly. They probably have policies on donated "home grown" produce, meat, & eggs. If they accept it and distribute it, it's probably their responsibility.

Not a lawyer but dealt with quite a few food pantries during my social service days.

Hope that helps

If they are eggs you would eat yourself - reasonably fresh, no cracks, etc. - the risk is pretty low. Eggs keep pretty well even out of the refrigerator, especially if you don't wash them until ready to use or refrigerate.

When was the last time you got sick from eating an egg? When was the last time you got sick and you were confident that it was something you ate and you knew just what it was? Put them in left-over egg cartons from a store if you can get them and if someone imagines they got sick from an egg, they'll be suing the supermarket instead of you.

I wouldn't worry about it. You might find your local food pantry won't take them anyway.

[I'm not a lawyer. I will refund what you paid for this advice if it's wrong.]
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Thanks for the update. I did some online research and learned that a Federal law has very strong protections for people who donate food in good faith to a food bank. Basically it says that as long as you are not doing something really negligent, like giving away food that is obviously spoiled, nobody can sue you or charge you with any crime.

I called my local food bank and they were thrilled. They said that they almost never get eggs donated, and when they do, the eggs go fast.

Depending on the judge assigned to the case, and his relationship with the lawyer suing you, your liability is unlimited on the one hand to zero on the other hand. I know that isn't the answer you needed, wanted, or expected, but it is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

In a court of law being charged with a crime is the best of all possible worlds. Being sued for damages in civil court is the worst because juries usually decide law suits based on emotion or feelings not on facts. What is OK in one judge's court room can be gross negligence in another's. It is often more about the trial lawyer getting a pay day and the food bank's customer going on a binge than it is about justice. In this case the judge may even urge you to settle out of court just to make the suit go away. No Federal laws will protect you then or pay your legal bills.

In reality the work to amass a case against a food bank will be great and their record keeping is chaotic so most lawyers will look for pastures with more green backs in the bank. Then there is that old legal adage that says, "You can't squeeze blood from a turnip."
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