Regulation 852/2004 on the Hygiene of Foodstuffs is one of the basic laws regulating the hygienic production of safe food. It includes rules on cleanliness, pest control, avoiding contamination and training.
Commission Regulation 2021/382, in force from March 2021, amends that Regulation by adding the following:
Redistribution of food for donation – reducing food waste
Food that has been assessed as being safe and fit for human consumption may be donated:
Before the use by date;
Before or after the date of minimum durability (best before date);
At any time for foods that do not require a date of minimum durability (e.g. fresh fruit and vegetables which have not been peeled or cut).
Allergen management – cleaning to avoid cross-contamination
Equipment, conveyances and/or containers used for an allergenic substance (peanuts, egg, milk etc.) must not be used for food that does not contain that substance unless the equipment etc. has been cleaned and checked at least for the absence of any visible debris that substance
Food safety culture – having one and proving it
Establishing a business culture that puts food safety at the core of every food-related activity is crucial. The new rules highlight the importance of the commitment of both management and employees to the safe production and distribution of food. However, this must be led by the business owners and management who must provide sufficient resources (financial and otherwise) to make this happen.
Following Brexit, these legal changes do not apply to Great Britain, although GB food business operators will already be, or should be, operating a robust food safety culture.