Legal and regulatory links for food redistribution

Here you will find an overview of the key legislation in the UK related to food safety and hygiene standards, links to relevant organisations and regulatory agencies across the UK and where to seek advice on redistribution.  Food redistributed for human consumption must follow all food safety and hygiene regulations.

1. Regulating body
In order to be suitable for redistribution, food must be compliant with all current Food Safety legislation. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) in Scotland, are the principal government departments responsible for regulating food safety in the UK.  Further information can be found on their websites, which should be consulted for any regulatory updates.

Food Standards Agency
England: https://www.food.gov.uk
Wales: https://www.food.gov.uk/wales
NI: https://www.food.gov.uk/northern-ireland

Food Standards Scotland
Scotland: http://www.foodstandards.gov.scot/

 

2. Legislation
2.1 Food Safety Regulations

Food redistributed for human consumption must follow all food safety and hygiene regulations. The principle food safety and hygiene legislation in the UK is:

Food Safety Act 1990
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1990/16/pdfs/ukpga_19900016_en.pdf

The Food Safety Act 1990 (as amended) provides the framework for all food legislation in Britain. The guidance is for all types of food business in England, Wales and Scotland. Similar legislation applies in Northern Ireland (see below).

The main responsibilities for all food businesses under the Act are:

  • to ensure you do not include anything in food, remove anything from food or treat food in any way which means it would be damaging to the health of people eating it;
  • to ensure that the food you serve or sell is of the nature, substance or quality which consumers would expect;
  • to ensure that the food is labelled, advertised and presented in a way that is not false or misleading.

See the Guidance section for FSA guidance to the Food Safety Act 1990

The Food Safety (Northern Ireland) Order 1991
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/nisi/1991/762/contents/made

The Food Safety (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 (as amended) provides the framework for all food legislation in Northern Ireland.

The main aims of the Order are:

  • to ensure that all food meets consumers‟ expectations in terms of nature, substance and quality and is not misleadingly presented;
  • to provide legal powers and specify offences in relation to public health and consumers’ interest; and
  • to enable Northern Ireland to fulfil its part of the United Kingdom’s responsibilities in the European Union.

See section 3 for FSA guidance to the Food Safety Act 19902.2

Food Hygiene Regulations

EU legislation covers all stages of the production, processing, distribution and placing on the market of food intended for human consumption. 'Placing on the market' means the holding of food for the purpose of sale, including offering for sale, or any other form of transfer, whether free of charge or not, and the sale, distribution and other forms of transfer themselves.  These regulations therefore cover food for redistribution.

The new hygiene rules were adopted in April 2004 by the European Parliament and the Council. They became applicable on 1 January 2006. They are provided for in the following key acts:
Regulation (EC) 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs, 29 April 2004
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32004R0852&rid=1
Regulation (EC) 853/2004 laying down specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin, 29 April 2004.
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/ALL/?uri=CELEX:32004R0853 
Regulation (EC) 854/2004 laying down specific rules for the organisation of official controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption, 29 April 2004.
http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=URISERV:f84003

These regulations have been accounted for in UK legislation by each nation as follows:

The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/2996/made/data.pdf

The legislation came in to force in December 2013 and applies effective controls throughout the food chain, from primary production to sale or supply to the final consumer (from 'farm to fork’).  It places an obligation on all food businesses to make sure that their activities are carried out in a hygienic way, and makes it an offence to supply food which is unsafe to be consumed and harmful to human health.  Under the 2013 legislation all food businesses are required to have a written food safety system in place based on the principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP). 
The 2013 regulations modernised, consolidated and simplified the previous EU food hygiene legislation and clarifies that it is the primary responsibility of food business operators to produce food safely. The regulations revoke the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 and its amending instruments, and certain regulations (3, 4, 5, 6, 6A and 7) of the General Food Regulations 2004 and replace them with a single statutory instrument (SI).

The Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2006/14/pdfs/uksi_20060014_en.pdf

The legislation came in to force on 11th January 2006 and applies effective and proportionate controls throughout the food chain, from primary production to sale or supply to the final consumer (from 'farm to fork’).  It places an obligation on all food businesses to make sure that their activities are carried out in a hygienic way, and makes it an offence to supply food which is unsafe to be consumed and harmful to human health.  Under the 2006 legislation all food businesses are required to have a written food safety system in place based on the principles of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP).  The 2006 regulations modernised, consolidated and simplified the previous EU food hygiene legislation and clarifies that it is the primary responsibility of food business operators to produce food safely.

The Food Hygiene (Wales) Regulations 2006
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/wsi/2006/31/introduction/made

The Food Hygiene (Wales) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/31 (W.5) came into force on 11 January 2006.  As well as applying the original EU Regulations (852/2004, 853/2004 and 854/2004), the regulations also apply the provisions of the EU implementing and transitional measures and the EU Microbiological Criteria Regulation.

Food Hygiene (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2006
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/nisr/2006/3/contents/made

The Food Hygiene Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 (SR 2006 No 3) came into force on 11 January 2006.  As well as applying the original EU Regulations (852/2004, 853/2004 and 854/2004), the regulations also apply the provisions of the EU implementing and transitional measures and the EU Microbiological Criteria Regulation.

The Food Hygiene (Scotland) Regulations 2006
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2006/3/pdfs/ssi_20060003_en.pdf

The Food Hygiene Regulations (Scotland) 2006 (SSI 2006 No 3) came into force on 11 January 2006.  As well as applying the original EU Regulations (852/2004, 853/2004 and 854/2004), the regulations also apply the provisions of the EU implementing and transitional measures and the EU Microbiological Criteria Regulation.

 

3. Guidance
There are various guidance documents from the government and FSA on food safety:

The Food Safety Act 1990 - A guide for food businesses
http://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/multimedia/pdfs/fsactguidefoodbusiness.pdf

The guidance has been produced to provide informal, non-binding advice on the legal requirements of the Food Safety Act 1990 and should be read in conjunction with the legislation itself.

The Food Safety (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 - A guide for food businesses
http://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/multimedia/pdfs/nifoodbusinessguide.pdf

The guidance has been produced to provide informal, non-binding advice on the legal requirements of the Food Safety Order 1991 and should be read in conjunction with the legislation itself.

Food safety - your responsibilities
https://www.gov.uk/food-safety-your-responsibilities/food-safety

The guidance provides information on food safety, food hygiene, food inspections and how to report a safety incident.  This includes links to further information such as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) principles and traceability.

Food labelling and packaging
https://www.gov.uk/food-labelling-and-packaging

The guidance provides details on what information must be provided to consumers through labelling; including basic information such as: use by dates, any necessary warnings, a list of ingredients, any special storage conditions, etc. 
NB: For food to be redistributed for human consumption it must be labelled and packaged correctly.  The product labelling and packaging may not be consumer ready when it is transferred from surplus provider to food surplus recipients, however, there must be sufficient information for the recipient to generate the appropriate labelling and packaging without food safety being compromised.  The capabilities of the provider and recipient to ensure the product is consumer ready with regards to labelling and packaging should be declared in the respective Redistribution Framework declarations and the overall responsibility for ensuring requirements are adhered to should be agreed within the redistribution partnership agreement.

Guidance Notes for Food Business Operators on Food Safety, Traceability, Product Withdrawal and Recall
http://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/multimedia/pdfs/fsa1782002guidance.pdf

A guide to compliance with Articles 14, 16, 18 and 19 of General Food Law Regulation (EC) 178/2002. Food businesses are required to comply with this legislation which relates to the safety of food, traceability, notification of food safety incidents and withdrawal and recall of unsafe food.