Consultation on amending domestic food legislation

Closed 13 Nov 2018

Opened 16 Oct 2018

Results expected 7 Feb 2019

Feedback expected 13 Feb 2019

Overview

1. Introduction

Defra wishes to consult on certain amendments to food legislation, which are required to ensure that a range of provisions can continue to operate after the UK has left the EU. The amendments would apply to certain England-only regulations (although Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own similar provisions in place). Where there are options on what amendments should be made, they are described in this consultation. You may wish to respond to all or some of the questions posed.

2. Context

Following the UK’s referendum to leave the European Union the UK Government has been working to secure a deep and comprehensive free trade deal with the European Union.

Alongside this work Defra – like other Government departments – has an extensive programme of work focused on preparing for a range of scenarios to make sure we are ready for the point when we leave the EU. Leaving the EU will change things, but on the day we leave food producers and retailers will still be able to trade, and we will continue our high standards of animal welfare and biosecurity protections.

We are working with other government departments, Devolved Administrations, partners, and businesses, so that vital areas such as food, farming and the environment are at the heart of Brexit planning, and we all understand the challenges and opportunities that government and industry are facing in the coming months to ensure a smooth transition.

Overall, Defra has more than 40 EU Exit projects. The plans for each project prepare the country for both a range of negotiated outcomes and a 'no deal' scenario for the relevant policy areas affected by the UK leaving the EU.

The amendments proposed and options explained in this consultation would apply in the event that the EU and the UK were not to agree a partnership arrangement and common approach to food legislation after the UK leaves the EU either on 29th March 2019 or at the end of an implementation period.

Simple amendments would be sufficient to enable many of the provisions contained in the relevant regulations (listed in section 3) to work after EU exit, and we are not specifically asking for your views on those proposed amendments which would be made only in order to make such minor corrections. However, in a few cases more substantial changes are required in order to reach workable solutions. Where options are available, they are described in this consultation.

3. Regulations to be amended

In order to make certain domestic (England only) food legislation operable after the UK has left the EU it is proposed to make amendments to the following regulations:

  • The Food (Lot Marking) Regulations 1996
  • The Natural Mineral Water, Spring Water and Bottled Drinking Water (England) Regulations 2007
  • The Spreadable Fats (Marketing Standards) and Milk and Milk Products (Protection of Designations) (England) Regulations 2008
  • The Food Information Regulations 2014
  • The Honey (England) Regulations 2015
  • The Country of Origin of Certain Meats (England) Regulations 2015
  • The Caseins and Caseinates (England) Regulations 2017

Most of these regulations apply only to products sold in England. Similar regulations are in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Most of the proposed amendments are minor technical fixes, e.g. concerning the correction of references to the EU or Member States, however more substantial policy options need to be considered for honey and natural mineral waters legislation.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be having similar considerations with regard to their own regulations. We appreciate that many comments and issues will be relevant across the UK and will share responses with the Devolved Administrations unless you ask us not to.

4. Impact Assessment

This consultation makes reference to an impact assessment. An impact assessment was prepared in order to assess the estimated impact of regulatory changes on relevant stakeholders including businesses. More details about expected impacts of the different policy options can be found in the corresponding sections of this consultation.

Why We Are Consulting

By publishing this consultation Defra wishes to meet its obligation to consult under Article 9 of EU Regulation 178/2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety and under the Food Safety Act 1990.

Defra wishes to also use this consultation to gather evidence and would welcome comments on any costs or benefits which you think we may not have considered or alternative views about the assumptions made in this consultation.

If you would like to keep in contact with us to express interest in this, or any other Defra consultation, please give us your details through the link below

https://gov.smartwebportal.co.uk/defra/public/webform.asp?id=108&id2=1D06F7

What Happens Next

Once the consultation has been closed, all responses will be considered and a summary of responses and Defra’s comments on those responses will be provided on Citizen Space website. If changes are required to the policy or intended legislation as a result of comments received, communication of such decisions will also take place after the consultation has closed.

Audiences

  • Food Business Operators
  • Food Industry
  • Government Departments
  • Government Agencies
  • Devolved Administrations
  • Ports and Harbour Authorities and Estuaries
  • Water/water Industry sector
  • Environmental professional services
  • Local Authorities
  • Consumer Groups
  • Business/Private Sector
  • Local Authorities
  • SME businesses
  • Trading Standards Officers
  • Environmental Health Officers
  • Professional and Membership Organisations/Agencies
  • Public Bodies
  • Consultants

Interests

  • Consultations
  • DEFRA Policy
  • Food standards
  • Food and drink exports
  • Meat Industry