On Wednesday 6 July, the Food Standards Agency partnered with Neighbourly to host an industry round table event entitled ‘Addressing the challenges in food waste redistribution’.
The event focused on redistribution by retailers to charities and community organisations preparing food for service users and marked the beginning of the FSA’s review of date marking guidance in partnership with Defra and WRAP. The key theme was to explore whether any improvements in food safety labelling and guidance, or better education around it, might increase the volume of surplus fresh food donated and used by the voluntary sector.
The event highlighted a number of key issues, and now, as part of the review process, the FSA, WRAP and Defra will consider extending the guidance to include how food can be redistributed safely. A recurring theme throughout the event was the impact, application and understanding of date labelling, in particular the challenges around ‘best before end’ dates. The need for a section of the guidance to address date marking for food for redistribution rather than sale was also identified.
Steve Wearne, Director of Policy, Food Standards Agency, commented, “These discussions have been extremely useful in bringing to light the key barriers to food redistribution for all those involved. It has clearly highlighted the areas where the FSA can focus its efforts to ensure that as much surplus food as possible is safely redistributed. That’s why we have begun the process, working with Defra and WRAP, of reviewing the date marking guidance which we aim to publish by July 2017.”
Photo Credit: FSA