Consultation on revoking Regulation 4 of the Spreadable Fats (Marketing Standards) and Milk and Milk Products (Protection of Designations) (England) Regulations 2008 - Margarine Fortification
Government is committed to reducing the number of regulations industry and others have to navigate as part of the ‘Red Tape Challenge’. The aim is to ensure regulations provide proportionate, effective and risk- based enforcement of EU obligations in our domestic law.
The purpose of this consultation is to seek views on a proposed update to the Spreadable Fats (Marketing Standards) and Milk and Milk Products (Protection of Designations) (England) Regulations 2008. Regulation 4 requires the fortification of margarine with vitamins A and D. This goes beyond EU requirements and is ‘gold plating’. We are therefore proposing to remove this requirement by revoking regulation 4.
The closing date for this consultation is the 7th August 2013
Responses should be sent to the following email address;
Or by post to:
Food Policy Unit
3A Nobel House
17 Smith Square
Why We Are Consulting
Informal consultation with industry suggests that only a small number of small producers in the UK make a fat spread that would legally qualify as margarine. Therefore, almost all fat spreads made in England do not need to meet this fortification requirement, but producers do so on a voluntary basis as it has become the industry standard.
Analysis of National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows that fat spreads in total (excluding butter) contribute about a fifth of vitamin D intake and 5-10% of vitamin A intake. However the vast majority of this is from voluntarily fortified reduced and low fat spreads rather than margarine. No health concerns are expected to be raised regarding abolishing this requirement. The cost of fortification is so low, we believe manufacturers would continue to fortify voluntarily if mandatory fortification was removed.
An impact assessment looked at the option of replacing the current regulations with a new Statutory Instrument with the mandatory requirement to fortify margarine with vitamins A and D removed and replacing criminal sanctions for breaching the regulations with civil sanctions. The costs associated with this option were attributed to familiarisation costs for local trading standards officers (one-off transition costs). The benefits would be likely to originate from both industry and enforcement bodies of using compliance notices instead of criminal sanctions. However, given that we expect there to be very few margarine producers, and therefore very few, if any, enforcement cases, these benefits would be very small or non-existent. Therefore, although this option would simplify the regulatory landscape, the measure could impose a small overall cost.
On this basis we are proposing that regulation 4 of The Spreadable Fats (Marketing Standards) and the Milk and Milk Products (Protection of Designations) (England) Regulations 2008 which makes it a requirement for margarine to be fortified if sold, simply be revoked. This will mean that it will no longer be a criminal offence to sell unfortified margarine.
What Happens Next
When this consultation ends, we will summarise all responses and place this summary on our website at www.gov.uk/defra . This summary will include a list of names of organisations that responded but not people’s personal names, addresses or other contact details.