Food disposal guidance launched by Defra

THE DEPARTMENT for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched new guidance on how food waste should be handled or disposed of.

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Aimed at food shops, manufacturers and distributors the new guidance – which has been developed in partnership with the Animal and Plant Health Agency – highlights that food waste and former foodstuff (foods no longer intended for human consumption) must be disposed of in a way that ‘doesn’t pose a risk to human or animal health’.


The guidance outlines that foods of animal origin and foods that contain products of animal origin and are intended for human consumption must be removed from sale when they have passed their sell-by or use-by date; are visually imperfect, or have damaged packaging; and are spoiled, mouldy, or decomposing.


If the food is removed from sale, but is still fit for human consumption the food can be sent to supermarket returns depots or distribution centres to be redistributed for humans to eat.


Is the decision is made that the foodstuff is no longer intended for human consumption, the food becomes an animal by-product and must be dealt with in the appropriate way. There are three categories of animal by-product – high, medium and low risk.