I’ve been in touch with Vale of White Horse’s very helpful environmental health officer. I had sent her a risk assessment and other health/safety bumf using templates provided by the Frome community fridge people. It turns out that some of those templates are probably not correct:
- reference should be to ‘registered food businesses’ not ‘certified businesses’
- the reason for not putting raw meat/fish/etc in the fridge is not that those foods are themselves risky, but rather that they can cross-contaminate so-called ‘high risk foods’, which are things that we eat without heating them up first (e.g. yoghurt, sandwiches). That needs to be clear in the documentation.
- disclaimers have no legal validity, so putting up a sign saying “In taking this food, I agree that…” is not enough to pass legal liability onto the food user
- one of the disclaimers on the Frome fridge is that people with allergies should not use the food. However the legislation on allergens is very much about labelling food clearly so that people with allergies can take anything except things that they are allergic to. Having a blanket ban on people with allergies is a form of discrimination.
The environmental health officer plans to discuss these kinds of issues with Medip’s (Frome) and Oxford’s (possible other community fridge in Oxford) environmental health officers and will come back to us with recommendations. Thank you Jennifer Reid!