A way to provide tons of food to organizations that help feed the poor has gained the blessing of the State Senate. Food pantries and other organizaitons that provide food to Missourians living in poverty are under increasing pressure in tough economic times and many food pantries in Missouri report they’re having trouble keeping up with requests. Senator John Loudon of Ballwin has won Senate approval of his bill letting restaurants and grocery store delis donate leftover prepared food to charitable organizations that supply food to others. He says it’s a three-way partnership involving restaurants, charities, and the state. The bill does not give stores and restaurants a chance to dump bad food. It has to be good but the stores and restaurants are given some protection from lawsuits. Loudon’s bill says anyone who says they were sickened by bad food must prove to store or restaurant or the food pantry guilty of gross negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct. Loudon says that’s a high standard to meet, espeically in cases such as food poisoning where the origin of the illness is sometimes hard to pinpoint to begin with. This idea has been floated for years. Backers hope today’s economy provide the motivation for final passage. The bill goes to the House now.