The Nutrition (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regualtions 2018: A Public Consultation

Closed 14 Dec 2018

Opened 3 Dec 2018

Overview

This consultation seeks feedback on proposals for regulations necessary to ensure certain aspects of the law relating to nutrition continue to operate effectively after the UK has left the EU in the unlikely event of a no deal scenario. The consultation covers legislation relating to: nutrition and health claims, the addition of vitamins, minerals, and certain other substances to food; food for particular nutritional uses; food supplements; and the regulation of Kava-Kava, with particular regard to the functions of the European Commission and European Food Safety Authority.

We have now agreed in principle the terms of the UK’s smooth and orderly exit from the EU, as set out in the Withdrawal Agreement. We have also agreed the broad terms of our future relationship as set out in the outline Political Declaration. But nothing is agreed until everything is agreed - and as such it is the duty of a responsible government to continue to prepare for all scenarios, including the unlikely event of a no-deal.

Therefore, the proposals outlined in this consultation, henceforth referred to as ‘fixes’ would only come into effect in the unlikely event that the United Kingdom and the European Union are unable to conclude negotiations satisfactorily.

Plans outlined in this consultation would provide continuity and assurance for business and consumers as we seek to mirror existing European systems domestically as far as is practically possible. Further to this the Government does not envisage that this Statutory Instrument will create ‘winners’ or ‘losers’, with no practical adverse effects on individual citizens or adverse regional impact.  

Although food law is devolved, this policy area has been designated by the UK Government for consideration for a common approach. This means that one set of regulations would make the necessary fixes to all retained EU law with the consent of Ministers from the devolved administrations. This consultation is therefore being carried out on behalf of the whole of the UK.

In addition, the consultation deals with the proposed fixes to English domestic legislation relating to nutrition that is derived from EU law. Devolved authorities will make equivalent fixes independently and issue consultations in their respective countries accordingly.

The consultation is open until 14th December 2018 and we would welcome your views.

Why We Are Consulting

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (“the EUWA”) converts certain EU legislation into UK law. Converted law is referred to in this consultation as ‘retained EU law’. Further to this, the EUWA enables Ministers to make regulations to fix any resulting deficiencies in retained EU law, ensuring that upon leaving the EU in the unlikely event of a ‘no deal’ scenario the policies and systems that underpin nutrition legislation in the UK continue to function effectively.

Currently EU law requires the European Commission (EC) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), to regulate:

  •  nutrition and health claims made on foods;
  • the addition of vitamins, minerals, and certain other substances added to foods;
  • foods for specific groups, including: infant and follow on formula; processed cereal-based and baby foods; foods for special medical purposes; and total diet replacement for weight control; and
  • food supplements.

To prepare for the unlikely event of 'no deal', the Department of Health and Social Care is proposing to make the Nutrition EU Exit (Amendment) Regulations 2019, using powers provided by the EUWA, to fix inoperabilities in retained EU law. Matters relating to nutrition and health claims, composition, and labelling are devolved, however, this policy area has been designated by the UK government for consideration for a common approach. Proposals put forward in specific parts this consultation therefore extend and apply to the UK including Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. We will continue to work with devolved administrations on areas where common frameworks will need to be maintained in the future. This consultation does not pre-empt those discussions.

The provisions in the regulations which amend retained EU law or otherwise transfer EU law into domestic law (such as creating UK lists of minerals and vitamins which may be used in food supplements) would be UK wide. These would include provisions to transfer regulatory and decision-making functions from EU bodies to appropriate UK authorities.  

Other provisions will amend existing domestic legislation derived from EU laws, to ensure that it remains operable after EU Exit, with devolved authorities making equivalent fixes independently. Independent fixes would thus be made in relation to those matters (such as enforcement) which are currently regulated separately in each part of the UK. It should be noted however, that many of the proposed fixes are technical in nature, simply changing EU-specific references so that they remain relevant when the UK is no longer a member State.

This approach would ensure that the UK retains a functioning body of nutrition law that maintains continuity and high standards for businesses and consumers.

What Happens Next

We are analysing your feedback, results will be published on GOV.UK.

Audiences

  • Advocacy or support organisations
  • Local authority
  • Social care provider
  • Members of the public
  • Patients
  • Retailers
  • Suppliers

Interests

  • Nutrition
  • Children's health and development
  • Public health
  • Public Health England
  • Patient care
  • Adult social care