The Food Act 2006 (the Act), does not prevent food businesses or individuals from donating food; however, the food that is donated must be safe. Food handlers who handle donations also have a responsibility under The Food Act 2006 (the Act).
Food can be donated provided it is safe and suitable to consume and it complies with the requirements of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code), including relevant labelling and compositional requirements.
Irrespective of whether the food is intended to be sold or donated, Queensland food businesses are required to comply with the Act and the Code.
These regulations are in place to safeguard public health and safety, and to meet community expectations that food for consumption is safe and suitable.
Food usually donated to charities is:
- Unused portions of food, prepared by a food business, that has not been served to customers
- Food bought, by a business or individual, that is excess to requirements
- Non‐perishable items bought specifically to donate to a charity.
Businesses and individuals should avoid donating food that is close to its ‘use by’ date. The food may be unsafe to eat after the ‘use by’ date, even though spoilage may not be evident. Charities are not allowed to distribute food past its ‘use by’ date.
Make sure that the food donated is safe
The same precautions are required to be taken for donated food, as if it were being sold from a food business. Some basic food safety precautions that should be followed include:
- taking care when handling, storing, packing and transporting food.
- storing food in clean, covered, food-grade containers.
- keeping high-risk foods such as meat, seafood, eggs, dairy products and smallgoods, or foods that contain any of these ingredients such as sandwiches, quiches and prepared salads, below 5ºC or above 60ºC.
- ensuring the food is collected by, or delivered to, the charity, in the shortest period of time.
- where possible, keeping high-risk foods out of the temperature danger zone (between 5ºC and 60ºC) while being transported.
- discarding high-risk food left in the temperature danger zone for more than 4 hours.
- ensuring that everyone involved in handling food maintains the highest possible standard of cleanliness and personal hygiene.
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