Guidance on the Shelf Life Extension of Frozen Food
The British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) has issued new guidance to help businesses manage unprecedented levels of frozen stock approaching the end of its shelf life as result of COVID-19, in order to avoid significant amounts of food waste.
The guidance, which includes detailed advice on shelf life extension as well as labelling and redistribution, has been produced in collaboration with DEFRA, Primary Authority and WRAP. It is backed by trade organisations including the FDF, Federation of Wholesale Distributors, the FDF, UK Hospitality and the Provision Trade Federation.
The guidance is aimed at business supplying hospitality and foodservice who unexpectedly find themselves holding excessive stocks of frozen food. It is not intended for foods destined for general retail sale to the public.
Richard Harrow, chief executive, BFFF, said: “Preventing food waste is a key priority for the food and drink sector.
“Effective communication and greater collaboration across the supply chain will be vital in the months ahead to ensure the safe and appropriate use of frozen food currently held in storage and to reduce unnecessary waste.
“This new guidance is designed to help businesses facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the pandemic, mitigate severe losses without compromising consumer safety while also maintaining the already excellent levels of traceability and transparency across the supply chain.”
Victoria Prentis, DEFRA Food Minister, said: “Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the BFFF and all its members have acted as a united front – working innovatively to keep the supply chain moving and keep our country fed and I thank them for their hard work and commitment.
“Now, as restrictions continue to ease, we all need to work together to do all we can to ensure good, nutritious food does not go to waste. All food that is safe and suitable to eat should be made available for sale or redistributed. We in government are firmly committed to supporting this effort alongside industry.”
The BFFF is also calling for all parties to consider the full range of options available, to prevent individual business holding unexpectedly high levels of frozen food stocks, carrying the full burden of costs.
Mr Harrow added: “The processes manufacturers, suppliers and wholesalers have used effectively in the past to agree shelf life extensions, may simply be unmanageable with the extraordinary quantity of frozen food now held in the system awaiting distribution.
“Until the hospitality sector returns to normal, all operators will face uncertainty about when stock will be called upon and which products will be required. The sector’s recovery depends on all parties working together to manage this challenge and the costs associated with this issue in the coming months.”
Ben Elliot, the Food Surplus and Waste Prevention Champion for DEFRA, said: “I want to thank the BFFF for taking quick action to address the issue of surplus food.
“I recently wrote to food businesses urging them to work together to keep our supply chain moving as lockdown eases, so it is great to see the BFFF and all its members working quickly to do just that.
“We all have a role to play in what must be a nationwide effort, and this guidance should go a long way to help businesses play their part.”
Peter Maddox, director WRAP said “WRAP is delighted to support the development of this new guidance from BFFF and Defra, which will help many businesses to manage their frozen stock nearing end of shelf life more confidently, and reduce instances where good food may go to waste.”
You can access the guidance here.