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Waste Disposal Introduction

Waste Disposal Introduction.

For the purpose of this Guide, waste can be regarded as any item of food, ingredients, packaging materials, soiled cleaning cloths etc. which are not suitable for further use and which are intended to be disposed of. This includes any material which is to be recycled such as returnable bottles.

Waste needs to be controlled carefully since it presents a risk of physical contamination of foods intended for sale. Additionally, foods which are damaged, out of code or rotting, or are themselves contaminated, or food contact materials may present a risk of microbiological cross-contamination.

Legal requirement

Chapter VI 1

Food waste and other refuse must not be allowed to accumulate in food rooms, except so far as is unavoidable for the proper functioning of the business.

Chapter VI 2

Food waste and other refuse must be deposited in closeable containers unless the proprietor of the food business can satisfy the food authority that other types of containers used are appropriate. These containers must be of an appropriate construction, kept in sound condition, and where necessary be easy to clean and disinfect.

Guide to compliance

Food waste should be removed regularly from areas where it is produced or placed in containers provided for the purpose. Sufficient containers should be provided to readily accommodate the quantity of food waste ordinarily produced and positioned conveniently for the points where the waste occurs.

In food rooms, containers need not be lidded if they are in frequent use and are regularly emptied. They must be readily cleanable and be disinfected periodically or disposable, and be clearly labelled or identified if there is any risk of confusion with other containers.
Large refuse items such as boxes, crates, tins etc. must be removed from the food room as soon as practicable.

Once food waste is removed from food rooms it must be placed in a lidded, tied or sealed container.

Other food waste including damaged or out of code product to be disposed of and refuse must be deposited in closeable containers. These must be made of readily cleanable materials such as plastics or metal and not be so damaged as to be insecure or leak.

Refuse such as cardboard, clean packing materials, paper or other uncontaminated wrappings intended for re-cycling need not be placed in closed containers provided they are so separated and dealt with so as not to pose a risk of contamination to foods.

Disposal of Waste

In most cases disposal by the local authority refuse service will be satisfactory. All authorities have special arrangements for the collection of trade waste and it is advisable to establish what these are. As an alternative, many contractors are prepared to collect waste and dispose of it but in this case further requirements apply.
The Environment Protection Act 1990 (EPA) imposes a “duty of care” on businesses to ensure any waste is appropriately disposed of. Any contractor who collects waste is required to be licensed by the Environment Agency and you should ask for and keep a copy of the licence if you intend to use a contractor.

Transfer Notes

Regulations under the EPA require anyone collecting and disposing of waste to have a transfer note which accompanies the waste throughout its journey. Note that a transfer note is specific for each premises.

The transfer note will show:

  • the address of the business where waste is collected
  • a general description of the waste
  • the type of container (e.g. bag, skip, wheelie bin)
  • collection frequency

You must advise the contractor if any changes to the type of waste are made. Transfer notes must be retained for a period of 2 years after expiry.

The Environment Agency will provide further advice on waste disposal.



The purpose of this Appendix is to provide background information on the role of inspectors, their powers and the way that they should deal with your business. It is not part of the Industry Guide to Good Hygiene Practice.
Official inspections of food businesses are conducted by Enforcement Officers who are officials of the Local Authority. They will generally be either:

  • Environmental Health Officers (EHOs)
  • Trading Standards Officers (TSOs)
  • Other Local Authority Officers eg food safety, technical or sampling officers

Both EHOs and TSOs enforce aspects of the Food Safety Act 1990 and the organisation of their respective work differs across the country. EHOs and other Officers from the Environmental Health Department are responsible for food safety and hygiene issues including compliance with The Food Safety (General Food Hygiene) Regulations, whilst TSOs deal with matters relating to food composition, labelling and misleading claims. In certain regions of the country including London, Scotland, Northern Ireland and some Metropolitan Boroughs of England EHOs are additionally responsible for food composition, labelling and misleading claims.


Enforcement Officers have wide powers to enter business premises at any reasonable time, to examine goods, equipment and documentation and to take samples of food or materials. It is an offence to obstruct Officers from carrying out their duties.
You will probably come into contact with Enforcement Officers when they visit your premises to conduct a programmed routine inspection, or perhaps if they have received a complaint from a customer.

It is a requirement that all food premises are registered with the Local Authority. From this information the Enforcement Officer will draw up a list of premises and determine the frequency that each will be visited, according to the risk posed. Low risk premises such as newsagents/confectioners may only be inspected once every five years, whilst retailers such as delicatessens or supermarkets will be visited perhaps annually. Inspection frequencies will be varied as necessary to take account of foods sold, practices and inspection or complaint history.

When an Enforcement Officer visits your premises you should adopt the following procedure:

  • Ensure the Officer is met with courtesy and co-operation
  • Ask politely for their identity card
  • Establish the reason for the visit
  • Take note of their name, title, name of Local Authority, office address and telephone number
  • Ensure that before they leave you are clear as to what you should do or expect to happen. Many officers will provide a written note of their visit on request.