Sharing food safely

Share safely ⚠️

One of the most important things for OLIO volunteers (Food Waste Heroes -FWHs) to receive is in-depth food safety. We’ve developed a robust and simple Food Safety Management System (FSMS) available in the Documents section of the Volunteer Hub, with the Food Standards Agency, that all FWHs follow. It is approved by our Primary Authority and based on a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) study. 

Here is a list of issues relating to food safety that you need to be aware of. Full details referenced here are all contained within our  🎥 Food Waste Hero training videos and in the Documents sections of the Volunteer Hub. 



To avoid issues with food allergies or intolerances, it is very important that FWHs have the information needed to make safe food choices. Check out our Allergens FAQ for more details. But remember:

  • All FWH listings contain a link to our allergens web page.
  • Only collect undamaged packaged items with clear ingredients and allergens.
  • Do not identify loose bakery items, name them ''mixed pastries'' instead. 

🎥 If you prefer to learn via videos, check out our Allergens video.

❓Find more information in our FAQ: Food Waste Hero: Allergens. 


Bakery Items:

When collecting loose bakery items:

  • Always take photos, so requesters can see for themselves. 
  • Do not identify loose bakery items, name them ''mixed pastries'' instead. 
  • If no hand-washing facilities are available, please use hand sanitiser and/ or tongs when handling unsealed items (pastries, baked goods or anything that can't be washed!).
  • Requesters can identify and find allergen info on the  allergens web page.

🎥 If you prefer to learn via videos, check out our Bakery items video.

❓Find more information in our FAQ: How to share unpackaged food items.


Food Types:

There are 4 types of food you might collect:

1. 🥫 Ambient / shelf foods - tin cans, packaged biscuits, whole fruit veg, pastries and bakery. 

  • Follow Use by dates. 

2. 🍱 Chilled foods - packed sandwiches, yoghurts, fridge snacks.

  • Must be shared or refrigerated within 1.5 hours of collection. 
  • Keep chilled to maximum 5°c until sharing.

3. 🌯 Hot foods   -  toasties, pies, soups, stews.

  • Must be at least 63°C - ask staff to check and refuse if it’s below. 
  • Share within 1.5 hours of collection, or return home and refrigerate to maximum 5°c until sharing
  • All hot food must be shared within 24 hours. 

4. ❄️ Frozen foods   - Peas, pies, anything that can be frozen! 

  • Only freeze items suitable for freezing, according to the packaging instructions.
  • Write or label on the food the exact date it was frozen. 
  • Check out our dedicated page on frozen foods.

🎥 If you prefer to learn via videos, check out our Distributing and Handling food (+ food types).


Use By:

As a FWH, the most important things to remember are:

  • Use by is all about safety - There must not be any listings, or even pick-ups arranged, for items that have passed their Use By dates. 
  • This is extremely important and is a legal, health and safety requirement that must not be overlooked - to protect our amazing community of OLIOers.
  • Please ensure that such items are listed for the correct amount of time by selecting the appropriate time frame under “List for” when adding your listing.
  • Ambient foods with a ‘best before’ date can be shared beyond that date, just use your best judgement on quality. 
  • Chilled food with a ‘best before’ date can be shared after the date but must still be shared within 24 hours of collection.
  • If a specific collection slot has stricter timing rules in place, these should always be followed first, for example when distributing hot food.
  • Please either ensure any expiry date is clearly visible in your listing photo or write it in the description 📸 

❓Check out our dedicated FAQ: Expiry dates explained. Check out how to Report Issues if you 

🎥 If you prefer to learn via videos, check out our Use by and Best before dates video.


Where can I share?

🏡 When food is stored at home, it must be stored in your kitchen, never on the floor and away from pets and children.  

If you don’t want to disclose your address, you may meet somewhere in your neighbourhood in a well-lit environment with a chill/ cool bag  used to transport any chilled food.

You cannot distribute near to the business, or an out door public space, and remember food must be kept out of pets and children.  Food must be shared directly, and not left unsupervised for people to help themselves. 


Your health

Do not volunteer to collect and share food as a Food Waste Hero if you or anyone in your household is ill. Please find cover by pausing or skipping your collection slot via the Volunteer Hub.



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