31 FOOD DONATION CONTROLS AND ANIMAL FOOD SUPPLY – Food and Drink – Good Manufacturing Practice, 7th Edition



Food manufacturers may, when they have surplus food material or by‐products of the manufacturing process, either sell this product as an animal feed ingredient or donate the food to a food donation supply chain. It is critical that these food products when dispatched by the food manufacturer are safe, meet legislative requirements and are of the required quality.

Animal Food Supply

31.1 There have been a number of high‐profile incidents in the food supply chain that have been associated with surplus foods, waste foods and by‐products from the manufacturing process that via the animal feed route have led to contamination of food products. Examples in the European Union (EU) include the use of meat and bone meal in ruminant animal feed and association with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), and dioxin via feed then contaminating pork, eggs and poultry products. If a manufacturer is intending to sell material for animal feed they need to ensure it is safe, free from contaminants and meets legislative requirements. A formal hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) assessment should be undertaken to ensure any potential risks are identified and adequate controls put in place to minimise their occurrence. The controls that are in place should be included in the food safety management system (FSMS) and consideration should also be given to the risk of misrepresentation of the material and risk of food crime (see Chapters 5 to 7).

31.2 Good manufacturing practice (GMP) with regard to second‐grade, surplus or ‘waste’ product is important in the manufacturing environment if this product then goes on to become an input in an alternative food supply chain. Waste should be collected in suitably constructed and identified receptacles, designated for the purpose and labelled as to their contents, for removal from the production area to collection points outside the buildings (see 19.17 and Chapter 30). Routine audits should be undertaken to ensure that training of staff has been effective in making sure they can demonstrate compliance with procedures for handling and storage of food waste or by‐products that are going to enter the food or feed supply chain. This audit should have a wide scope and include observations for signs of non‐compliance such as not keeping packaging and food waste separate, insufficient traceability of materials that are going to enter the animal feed supply chain and incorrect storage conditions, for example where waste needs to be kept refrigerated to prevent growth and proliferation of micro‐organisms that could lead to toxin or mycotoxin formation.

31.3 Legislation on animal feed is harmonised at EU level. EU Regulation No. 183/2005 on feed hygiene, as amended by EU Regulation No. 2017/625, requires businesses, including manufacturers selling by‐products of food production into the feed chain, to be registered or approved.1 The regulation requires feed businesses to comply with prescribed standards for storage, facilities, personnel and record‐keeping. The regulation is enforced through the Animal Feed (Composition, Marketing and Use) (England) Regulations 2015 and the Animal Feed (Hygiene Sampling etc. and Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2015 with separate but parallel legislation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Principal measures with regard to labelling and composition of animal feed that are applicable are:

  • Regulation (EC) No. 1831/2003 on additives for use in animal nutrition;
  • Directive (EC) No. 2002/32 on undesirable substances in animal feed;
  • Directive (EC) No. 2008/38 establishing a list of intended uses of animal feeding stuffs for particular nutritional purposes; and
  • Regulation (EC) No. 767/2009 on the placing on the market and the use of feed.

Legislation on the labelling and composition of animal feed addresses the requirements for information within the supply chain, namely:

  • the information to be provided to purchasers on feed labels;
  • the nutritional claims that can be made for certain feed products;
  • the names and descriptions to be applied to various feed materials (i.e. ingredients either fed singly or included in compound (manufactured) feeds);
  • the additives (including vitamins, colourants, flavourings and binders) authorised for use in animal feed;
  • the maximum levels of various contaminants (e.g. arsenic, lead, dioxins and certain pesticides); and
  • certain substances that must not be used in feed (see the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website for further details).

Donation‐based Supply Chains

31.4 As part of an overall waste minimisation strategy, food that is deemed safe and legal, but for some reason has not been dispatched into the food supply chain for which it was originally intended, as a result of excess stock, product close to duration date etc., may be donated to an alternative supply chain. Food rescue, sometimes called food recovery, is the practice of identifying edible food that if intervention does not take place would otherwise enter a waste stream, landfill etc. The food manufacturer may choose to donate or redistribute rescued, recovered or surplus food to people in need. Examples of food distribution organisations (FDOs) include social enterprises, food banks, food pantries and community kitchens. These alternative chains are often called donation‐based supply chains.

31.5 FoodDrinkEurope have produced food donation guidelines2 that were endorsed in 2016 by the European Commission’s (EC) Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed. The EC issued EU Guidelines on food donation in October 2017.3 The EU Guidelines define surplus food as ‘consisting of finished food products (including fresh meat, fruit and vegetables), partly formulated products or food ingredients, may arise at any stage of the food production and distribution chain for a variety of reasons [such as] foods which do not meet manufacturer and/or customer specifications (e.g. variations in product colour, size, shape, etc.)’ as well as production and labelling errors that generate surplus, problems with over‐ordering and/or cancelled orders, and issues relating to date marking.

31.6 The EU Guidelines state that surplus food may be redistributed provided that it is fit for human consumption, is compliant with all EU food safety requirements and provides adequate food information to consumers (see Chapter 14). All food donation activities should comply with the general food hygiene requirements of Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs, including registration, and Regulation (EC) No. 853/2004 when food of animal origin is redistributed, and any food information given should comply with Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers, as amended.

31.7 The type of food (dry goods, bakery items, canned, or perishable, e.g. fresh fruit and vegetables, raw or cooked meat and so on) will determine the inherent degree of food safety risk associated with the product and the controls that need to be put in place (see Chapter 3). Traceability of foodstuffs must be maintained through the redistribution process to safeguard the general public so that in the case of a product recall the manufacturer can implement the appropriate procedures (see Chapters 14 and 27). The EU guidance specifies that the following information should be kept as a minimum:

  • name and address of supplier, and identification of products supplied;
  • name and address of customer, and identification of products delivered;
  • date and, where necessary, time of transaction/delivery; and
  • volume, where appropriate, or quantity.

The guidance suggests that the minimum retention period for keeping records should be five years from the date of manufacturing or delivery.

31.8 The manufacturer, as a food donor, needs to consider the capacity of the FDO for storage, transportation up to the point of receipt and temperature control options, allergen management etc. as particular to the products being donated. Logistical issues such as whether the FDO can accept pallets of product, times when staff are at the facility, and access requirements and size of vehicle need to be considered.

31.9 The food manufacturer should ensure that food donation activities are adopted, implemented and verified in line with the management review, internal audit and verification procedures of the organisation (see Chapter 11).