A national charity that distributes surplus food supplies to people in need has been criticised after cutting ties with two local larders.
FareShare has severed its contracts with Food For Thought, a larder based at the Charleston Community Centre, and the Lochee Community Larder.
The charity says it had concerns over the safety of food handling at Lochee – but it has also severed the deal it has with the Charleston unit.
However Samantha Bruce, who works within both initiatives, says she and her team have complied with the charity’s requests to bring their procedures into line.
“FareShare have not been professional or charitable at all,” she said.
Under the two-year-old agreement FareShare provided Charleston, and latterly Lochee, with fresh and tinned food sourced from local supermarkets.
However, without the FareShare deal the charity has been forced to head out and buy its own tinned food in to provide to those who come to it in times of need.
“I was really angry with them for cutting both agreements – there’s no reason for it at all,” she added.
“They kept saying I wasn’t compliant and things like that – it took me weeks to get in writing what I wasn’t complying with and we would sort it.
“Any time we have realised we’ve had an issue we’ve taken action. And if we weren’t compliant in the first place why would FareShare have worked with us in the first place?
“Over 500 people are going without food as a result of this.”
Activist group Unite the Community Tayside has also launched a petition asking FareShare to overturn the decision.
Spokesman Michael Taylor said: “An extra and unanticipated strain has been placed on these fine folks and we will not stand by and see this vital community initiative fail.”
However, FareShare is standing its ground, saying it ended the deal due to concerns over food safety.
A spokeswoman said: “FareShare Tayside and Fife met with Lochee Larder on four occasions to support them to meet required food safety standards, but, unfortunately, did not receive confirmation that the required changes had been made.
“We also found evidence of two breaches of our Food Safety Manual and, for that reason, have terminated Lochee Larder and its sister project Food for Thought’s contract with FareShare.”
“As with FareShare and Lochee Larder, these food safety standards apply to every charity we work with. If we have reason to believe one of our charity members and/or associated organisations are not following the processes detailed in our food safety manual and agreed within the contract, we will review the agreement between parties and decide whether or not to terminate the contract.”