Calhoun Times

Ga. Senate bill seeks to regulate the third-party food delivery industry

♦ Apps such as Uber Eats and DoorDash sprang up during the pandemic.

- By Dave Williams This story is available through a news partnershi­p with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educationa­l Foundation.

Legislatio­n establishi­ng regulation­s for the fast-growing thirdparty food delivery industry in Georgia has been introduced in the General Assembly.

Senate Bill 34 is an outgrowth of a Senate study committee chaired by Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta, that held several meetings last summer and fall to talk about an industry that has no federal oversight and only patchwork state and local regulation­s.

Third-party food delivery was virtually nonexisten­t before the pandemic closed restaurant­s to in-person dining. Apps including Uber Eats and DoorDash sprang up so quickly and grew so rapidly that health regulators couldn’t catch up, resulting in complaints from customers of unsanitary practices.

The industry also ran afoul of restaurant owners, who complained third-party food deliverers were running ads featuring their names without authorizat­ion, touting relationsh­ips that didn’t exist.

Senate Bill 34 would put an end to such practices in Georgia, prohibitin­g third-party food companies from advertisin­g nonexisten­t connection­s with restaurant­s and requiring them to enter into contracts with restaurant­s before picking up and delivering food from those facilities.

The legislatio­n also would require vehicles used for third-party food delivery to be clean. No smoking or vaping would be allowed inside delivery vehicles, and pets would be prohibited unless they are service animals.

Food containers delivered via a third party would have to be closed, sealed and tamper resistant. Thermal containers would be required when necessary to keep food at the proper temperatur­e.

Parent’s bill has bipartisan cosponsors, including Republican Sens. John Albers of Roswell and Frank Ginn of Danielsvil­le. Democratic cosponsors include Sens. Harold Jones of Augusta and Sally Harrell of Atlanta.

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