Food Donation


Food donation may arise at any stage of the food production and distribution chain for a number of different reasons including:

  • Difficulties in managing supply and demand, some food businesses may have a ‘surplus’ of supply to meet orders and often orders for food may be cancelled resulting in excess stock
  • Errors in the labelling or packaging could mean that the perfectly safe food will not be entered into the marketplace and so is available for donation.

It is perfectly acceptable for this ‘surplus’ food to be redistributed or donated by food businesses to various charities, once the food is still in an acceptable condition and it is handled and distributed safely.

All food businesses whether donating or receiving and handling donated food must make themselves aware of their legal responsibilities under food legislation.

The information in this section is intended to provide an overview of general food safety guidance to both food businesses that donate food and also charities who receive the donated.

Each link below addresses a specific area in the food donation process and contains relevant questions and answers to help clarify the legal provisions in EU food legislation thus allowing the safe donation and receipt of food. The information also includes links to other guidance on compliance with relevant legislation. A summary of the main pieces of legislation that may apply to food businesses/charities is highlighted below.

Food Donation Guidance for: 

Last reviewed: 1/2/2019

Approved Food Establishments 


Food Labelling