ATLANTA – Legislation establishing regulations for the fast-growing third-party food delivery industry in Georgia has been introduced in the General Assembly.

Capitol Beat News Service
This story also appeared in Capitol Beat News Service

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 non-existent 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 non-existent 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 thirty 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.

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

Dave Williams is bureau chief for Capitol Beat News Service, a service of the Georgia Press Education Foundation.