On June 16th, the Commission published a Notice providing guidance on food safety management systems for food retail activities, including food donation. This initiative aims to support small businesses such as butchers, bakeries, groceries and ice-cream shops in their implementation of EU rules to ensure the safe production of food sold to the consumer.
The guidance proposes a simple way of implementing these EU requirements. It underlines the value of good hygiene practices that could be sufficient in small retail shops, saving operators from the (quite complicated) procedures based on the hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) principles. Food safety remains ensured by the guidance, which is largely based on two scientific opinions of the European Food Safety Authority.
Building on the EU food donation guidelines, adopted in 2017, the guidance further facilitates food donation by making recommendations on some simple additional good hygiene practices that contribute to ensuring the safe redistribution of food. Food donation can present specific food safety challenges given that food which is redistributed may be approaching the end of its shelf-life and the extension of the food supply chain to additional actors (e.g. food banks and other charities). In context of the increased demand for food donation linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, this new guidance provides timely support for all actors involved. More generally, the Notice perfectly fits with the recently adopted Commission Farm to Fork Strategy, because of the favourable effect it can have on reducing waste and promoting food security by facilitating safe food donation practices.