Food Donation: FSAI provides guide for charities and businesses

Dr. Pamela Byrne, FSAI chief executive
Dr. Pamela Byrne, FSAI chief executive

In light of the growing awareness, among consumers and retailers, of the importance of minimising food waste by donating to charity, the FSAI has published a guide to safe donation of unsold and expired foods

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22 September 2017 | 0

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland has addressed the growing area of donating unwanted, unsold and expired foods to combat food poverty, with the publication of four new guidance documents for charities and food businesses. The aim of the guide is to ensure the highest food safety standards are maintained in order to protect consumer health.

According to research, one in eight people living in Ireland are experiencing food poverty*, while food waste in Irish businesses accounts for 750,000 tonnes per year, with 300,000 tonnes coming from retail and catering businesses and over 400,000 tonnes generated by the industrial food processing sector**.

Often this food is suitable for redistribution, so food businesses offer unsold or nonsalable food items to charities.  The FSAI’s free guidance documents have been created to ensure safety procedures are followed at all times.

According to Dr Pamela Byrne, chief executive, FSAI, the growth in awareness and the increase in food donation to reduce food waste over the past number of years is to be welcomed, but that like all operators in the food supply chain whether donating, receiving or handling donated food they must comply with the law in relation to food safety.  The aim of these new guidance documents is to make it as easy as possible to comply with food law.

“Both receiving charities and donating food businesses must abide by food safety guidelines at all time so that public health is protected,” said Byrne. “The same high standards for food safety applied to food that is sold must apply to food that is donated also. All businesses under the law must have a traceability system in place to enable the swift and efficient recall of a product in the event of a food safety issue. Businesses must also ensure that labelling information is accurate.

“This includes use-by and best-before dates, instructions for use and allergen information,” she said.

 

The FSAI also has a number of other resources to assist food businesses comply with the law and implement high standards. These include a Safe Catering Pack as a tool to help caterers develop a system to manage food safety.  It includes a workbook (which presents options for businesses to choose how they are going manage food safety), a set of record books along with a DVD to explain how to use the pack. A free Safe Catering Pack is available to all charities by emailing info@fsai.ie and giving its charity number.

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