The BFFF were recently invited to attend a meeting called by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to discuss the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill (REUL Bill) in terms of Nutrition Labelling Composition and Standards.
As you will be aware, the REUL Bill is a framework which provides powers to ministers to decide whether to amend, retain or revoke any of the Retained EU Laws, of which there are >2,400!
The aim of the meeting was to understand, from a Nutrition Labelling Composition and Standards perspective, stakeholder views in terms of what degree of reform industry might be expecting and how that measures up to what ministers would agree to and the timetable might allow.
The BFFF Technical Expert Group came together to discuss this subject on January 25th and whilst we agreed there is definitely room for improvement in parts, many concerns were also tabled. On the whole, these concerns mirrored those which had been voiced by industry at the DHSC meeting, a summary of which is below:
- Ensuring ongoing compliance with different regulations and avoiding barriers to trade.
- Ensuring preservation of core compositional standards.
- Divergence removes the competitive advantage.
- Costly to comply with different regulations e.g., labelling differences UK v EU.
- Acceptance of, and confusion caused by products on UK market with different labelling systems e.g., Nutriscore.
- Negative impact on trade and growth.
- Interdependencies between food and labelling legislation.
- Risk to stability if too many changes in 2023.
- Introduction of errors into legislation if rushed.
- Need to review accompanying guidance.
- Preservation of ‘complicated/messy/patchwork’ legislation.
- Civil service under resourced – REUL on top of business-as-usual work.
- Early notice needed if something is to be revoked.
If BFFF members have anything you wish us to raise about the REUL Bill, then please do let us know. We will be feeding back the points comments from the Technical Expert Group but we have been told the plan is to continue engaging with industry on a regular basis as the Bill progresses so your input would be most welcomed. Please email email@example.com