Food and feed legislation after Brexit: FSA checking in with industry, enforcement officers

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages
© GettyImages
The UK food standards agency [FSA] wants to hear from the UK feed sector, amongst other stakeholders, about making UK animal feed and food legislation fit for purpose post EU exit.

It has begun a six-week public consultation​ period.

The agency is seeking feedback on the amendments that UK ministers are looking to make under the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EUWA) to ‘retained EU law’ relating to food and feed safety and hygiene.

The EUWA provides UK ministers with powers to ‘correct’ retained EU law to ensure that current levels of food and feed safety and standards are maintained within the UK when it departs the EU. These amendments will be made by way of statutory instruments, which departments are now preparing, said the FSA.

As a result of leaving the EU, food and feed safety risk management functions now performed by EU institutions will return to the UK.   

“Without prejudice to potential future arrangements between the UK and the EU, the UK would be responsible for decisions and legislation relating to food and feed safety,”​ said the FSA in the consultation document.

The agency said the proposal to correct deficiencies in retained EU law relating to food and feed will be relevant to all UK food and feed manufacturers as well as local authority food and feed law enforcement officers, consumers and other stakeholders with an interest in UK food and animal feed law.

“Businesses and food law enforcements stakeholders will want to familiarize themselves with the main corrections which are being proposed, and which will require action from them to ensure that continue to operate effectively after the UK leaves the EU.”

The FSA said it is necessary to ensure that the retained EU laws reference the relevant UK risk managers and risk assessors so that the current rules will continue to function effectively on the day the UK leaves the EU.

“Furthermore, discussions are ongoing across Government and with the Devolved Administrations as to how best to organize risk management and risk assessment for the UK after we have left the EU. The FSA's priority is to maintain the UK’s high-standards of food and feed safety, and to ensure we take a risk-based, proportionate approach when providing risk assessments.”

The FSA said the main corrections will be to provide suitable replacement for the risk management function currently undertaken by the European Commission and for the risk assessment function currently undertaken by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

It is anticipated that the UK would develop an alternative to some of the functions currently provided by EFSA, building on existing scientific advisory structures.

“Subject to negotiations, we will redefine and formalize a close working relationship with EFSA based on exchange of information and expertise, contribution to scientific networks, and cross-European collaboration,”​ noted the consultation document​.

What does the FSA want to know?

The agency is asking interested stakeholders whether they have any comments on the proposed approach to fixing inoperable aspects of the retained EU Law for day one of Exit from the EU as set out in the consultation.

It wants to know if they can identify any concerns or risks regarding the proposed approach to fix inoperabilities in retained EU Law that appear not to have been adequately addressed.

It asked respondents if they are aware of any impacts of the proposed measures that have not been identified in the consultation, and whether they agree with the impacts that have been identified within the review process.

The FSA also wants to know if industry and local authorities have any general comments to impart on food and feed safety and hygiene in the UK after EU Exit.

Within three months of the public consultation period ending, the FSA said it aims to publish a summary of responses received. 

Related topics: Regulation

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