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Policy Issue: Food Safety for Donations

Clear, accessible guidance on food safety—specific to donated food—is necessary to encourage donation and protect public health.

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Atlas Research: Food Safety for Donations

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Issue Brief 

The issue brief provides an overview of food safety policy frameworks and highlights best practices around the world to optimize food safety laws and regulations so that donors, food recovery organizations, and other stakeholders understand how to donate in alignment with relevant laws.

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Webinar Synopsis

We brought together government stakeholders for an in-depth conversation about food safety for donations.

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Best Practices: Food Safety for Donations

All countries should implement the following best practices to ensure that food is not lost or wasted due to unclear or nonexistent food safety laws:

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Include Food Donation in Relevant Food Safety Laws

Adopt a donation-specific food safety law or policy or amend the relevant national food safety law or policy to feature a donation-specific chapter, section, or provision.

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Ensure that Policy Allows for Donation of all Food that Remains Safe to Consume

Explicitly permit the donation of unsaleable food with labeling or permitting flaws that do not affect food safety or suitability for human consumption, and explicitly allow the donation of food past a quality-based date label.

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Offer Guidance for Food Donation Safety

Designate a department or agency to develop and disseminate clarifying guidance on food safety requirements relevant to donation.

Countries with Strong Policies: Food Safety for Donations

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In 2019, India introduced Surplus Food Regulations, setting standards relevant to leftover food that may be donated.

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The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India also launched a Share Food website with additional guidance for food donations.

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To complement the 2020 Food Donation Law, which granted liability protection, Brazil’s food safety agency, ANVISA, issued comprehensive guidance

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about how to ensure donated food is handled and distributed safely, making clear what rules donors and organizations must follow in order to comply with relevant laws and ensure liability coverage.

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United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has a detailed legal framework relevant to food safety donation. The UK government and its devolved countries’ governments provide funding for the nonprofit organization

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Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to educate and raise awareness about the safe redistribution of surplus food, among other food waste reduction initiatives.

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Mapping food donation policies around the world

The Atlas evaluates laws and policies across the most relevant issue areas relating to food donation and food loss and waste. Explore the map to compare and contrast existing legislation and learn from best practices around the world.

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