Retailers have been saved a massive headache after the European Commission decided that regulations regarding the disposal of foodstuffs should be drawn up by individual member states rather than centrally.

Measures to prohibit the use of landfill sites when disposing of surplus or waste food of animal origin from retail outlets are due to take effect from January 1, 2006.

After lobbying from government department Defra, the Commission has amended its draft proposals to allow EU member states to determine themselves what types of material will come under the new rules.

The decision means retailers will only have to dispose of raw fish and raw meat in a controlled way. Other products made from animal origin such as cooked meat and cheeses can go in landfill with other waste.