Legal acts applicable to organizations redistributing food

As the activities of redistribution and charity organisations are essentially related to food distribution, they may be considered, under the General Food Law, as food business operators engaging in ‘retail’ activity. — ‘retail’  means the handling and/or processing of food and its storage at the point of sale or delivery to the final consumer, and includes distribution terminals, catering operations, factory canteens, institutional catering, restaurants and other similar food service operations, shops, supermarket distribution centres and wholesale outlets. Under EU food hygiene rules, ROs and COs are considered essentially as ‘retail’ or distribution centres, with activities limited to storage and transport.

Under EU food labelling rules, ROs and COs which prepare food that is ready for consumption by the final consumer may be considered as ‘mass caterers’

 — ‘mass caterer’  means any establishment (including a vehicle or a fixed or mobile stall), such as restaurants, canteens, schools, hospitals and catering enterprises in which, in the course of a business, food is prepared to be ready for consumption by the final consumer 

Hygienic and sanitary obligations of organizations redistributing food

Based on EU legal regulations and guidelines developed by the European Commission, it can be assumed that the hygienic and sanitary requirements that must be applied by food redistribution organizations can be differentiated depending on the type of activity.

In this respect, these organizations can be divided into three main categories:

  • Organizations acting as “distribution centres”, ie dealing with the transfer of food to other food companies (B2B)
  • Organizations that act as “retailers”, i.e. transferring food to the final consumer or to mass caterers (e.g. restaurants social)
  • Organizations operating as “gastronomy”, i.e. processing food for a purpose food preparation.

Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs applies to all food establishments. The most important requirements for food redistribution are:

  • registration of the establishment with the competent authorities (this could be a simple notification procedure to the national competent authorities for the operation of the establishment or a significant change of activity),
  • the application of good hygiene practices as set out in Annex II of this Regulation,
  • implementation of procedures based on HACCP principles.

Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 does not lay down very specific rules, but general requirements (for example to avoid contamination of food) that must be respected by all operators

Additional specific provisions on food hygiene in Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 apply when retailers and redistribution organizations supply food of animal origin to other establishments

Food rescue organizations - good practices in various operating models

The goal of the food rescue organization is to collect surplus food and give it to people in need.

What to do if the donated food has a short expiration date?

If the organization has kitchens, it can use the received food immediately and donate the rest in takeaway packages

More information in video: