There is a federal good Samaritan food donation act as well an expanded Florida provision.  Food banks in Florida benefit greatly, it's often a matter of getting the donated food to a distributor or shelter in a timely manner.  In my experience, often businesses feel protected by the good Samaritan laws and others would rather participate in things like canned food drives.

Here is an excerpt from a North Florida food  bank :
Liability Protection for Food Donors
Jack Davis Florida Restaurant Lending a Helping Hand Act
The bill (B276) expands Florida's Good Samaritan food-donation law to provide a lawsuit exemption for restaurants that donate leftovers to charities and nonprofit groups. Federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act On October 1, 1996, then-President Clinton signed this act to encourage donation of food and grocery products to non-profit organizations for distribution to needy individuals.

This law makes it easier for you to donate by:

Protecting you from liability when you donate to a non-profit organization 
Protecting you from civil and criminal liability should the product donated in good faith later cause harm to the needy recipient 
Standardizing donor liability exposure. You or your legal counsel no longer has to investigate liability laws in 50 states 
Setting a floor of "gross negligence" or intentional misconduct for persons who donate grocery products. According to the new law, gross negligence is defined as voluntary and conscious conduct by a person with knowledge (at the time of conduct) that the conducts is likely to be harmful to the health or well-being of another person.

-----Original Message-----
From: Kathleen Pagan 
Sent: Monday, June 22, 2009 9:59 AM
Cc: Sally C. Palmi
Subject: RE: Food Waste Friday #22: Nevada to allows restaurants to donate food liability-free

Hi Ryan,

I just want to mention I am aware a few local businesses donate food to local efforts to feed the homeless (pizza in particular, although with increases to cheese prices the amount has diminished).  This may not be "waste food" though.  I don't know if other businesses could be encouraged to participate if there was a similar law here as the Nevada law mentioned in the link. I am copying Sally Palmi in County Waste Alternatives who may be able to provide other insights.  

Thank you for the interesting information you provide to the BEST list-serv and for your concern about the needs of the homeless.

Kathleen Pagan, AICP, Sr. Planner 

-----Original Message-----
From: Bioenergy and Sustainable Technology Society [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of GRAUNKE,RYAN E
Sent: Saturday, June 20, 2009 12:09 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Food Waste Friday #22: Nevada to allows restaurants to donate food liability-free

Greetings BESTers,

      One big cause of food waste is restaurants and grocery 
stores throwing away left over food.  The logical and ethical 
choice would be to donate this food to local shelters and food 
banks, but many businesses shy away from this due to liability 
issues.  A new law in Nevada now allows businesses to be immune to 
these liabilities.  It seems ridiculous that this problem is only 
now being addressed and why every state hasn't passed similar 
laws.  It's truly a shame when perfectly edible food is thrown 
away (even if it's to a digester) when there are people on our 
streets going hungry, and all because of some obscene legal 
issues.  Let's hope other states follow suit with Nevada, and 
allow businesses to donate their food without fear of liability.

Timothy Parr
Las Vegas Sun
"Law allows restaurants freedom to be charitable"
June 18th, 2009

Have a great weekend,