An appropriate regulatory framework

That ensures the continued confidence of consumers and industry

  • The safety and authenticity of our products remains paramount for industry and continues to be the top priority for FDF.
  • The production, processing, distribution, retail, packaging and labelling of food and drink is governed by a wealth of laws, regulations, codes of practice and guidance, the majority of which is in place at an EU level.
  • Common regulatory and legal requirements informed by sound science and evidence allow companies to do business and trade on a level playing field, while also protecting consumers.
  • However, EU regulation can also create barriers and burdens that limit the ability of businesses to innovate, so improvements are possible.

FDF recommendations:

1. A roadmap for future legislation

Businesses need a clear roadmap setting out how Government will manage the exit process in the complex area of food legislation. Dialogue with industry is important to ensure an effective regulatory landscape is developed, including discussion of scenarios for the future regulation of UK food and drink. Consideration should also be given to how industry's ability to innovate might most effectively be supported.

2. Maintaining confidence in UK food and drink

Recognition of the UK as a producer of safe, high quality food and drink shouldn't be harmed by withdrawal from the EU. Domestic consumer confidence and our ability to export must be maintained. Regulation should continue to be based on sound science and evidence. Government must ensure relevant bodies are appropriately resourced.

3. A new regulatory landscape

The existing EU regulatory framework facilitates trade on a level playing field and allows UK businesses to access the Single Market. Industry needs to be assured that mechanisms will be put in place to ensure mutual recognition of potentially different regulatory systems, without the need for Export Health Certificates or burdensome customs barriers.

4. Ongoing regulatory developments

Government should continue to play an active role in ongoing EU policy negotiations. All current and 'in the pipeline' regulations, whether on food safety, labelling or on broader issues such as health and safety, will apply to UK business until the day we exit, at least. However, there are concerns about the potential impact UK manufacturers might face in terms of the cost and time spent adapting to comply with new EU legislation that could then be revised or revoked by Government.

5. UK-EU regulatory cooperation

Consideration must be given to high-level initiatives that are best addressed at a multinational level, such as global emissions reductions, environmental controls and crossborder operations. It would be hard for the UK, in isolation, to achieve these objectives without significant cooperation. The UK must secure a seat at the negotiating table for significant EU legislation that will directly impact our trading relationships, similar to the regulatory cooperation set out in modern Free Trade Agreements.