The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on March 27 issued a fact sheet on how to safely distribute unused human food for use as animal food during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Within the communication, FDA said that as a result of COVID-19 and the restrictions on in-store dining, restaurants and restaurant suppliers may have surplus food that they cannot use and are looking for ways to repurpose their inventory. In such cases, FDA states that the preferred option is to use this food as human food and the agency has provided some regulatory flexibility for that redistribution. However, another option is to send the unused food for use as animal food. Historically, directing unused restaurant and grocery store food to use as animal food has been a common practice and is a valuable way to re-use food in a way that limits the impact on the environment.
If unused food cannot be redistributed for human food use, FDA’s fact sheet provides information on how to safely distribute it for animal food use during COVID-19. Topics addressed in the fact sheet include:
- Considering whether the food is unsafe for the animal that will consume it;
- Reconditioning or diverting a human food that is adulterated or contaminated for use as animal food;
- Distributing meat products that have special considerations related to animal diseases;
- Removing food packaging so that the packaging materials do not pose an animal food safety hazard;
- Labeling food with a statement of identity and listing of ingredients; and
- Following applicable animal food regulations for the state in which the food will be distributed.
More guidance on how to send human food to animal food use is available on FDA’s website.