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FSA Board Papers (FSA 17/09/04 and FSA 17/09/04a), 8 September 2017
The following is the first Summary section from a paper prepared by the staff of the FSA for discussion at the FSA Board Meeting on the 20 September 2017. The full paper is available on this site – see: Board Paper: Preparations for the UK’s Exit from the European Union
This paper sets out the proposed approach of the Food Standards Agency (FSA), an independent non-ministerial department, to prepare for the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU) in 2019. These proposed plans are not intended to pre-empt decisions which are yet to be taken by Government. Nor does this paper set out proposals for negotiating with the EU. The plans in this paper have been carefully developed to provide the flexibility to respond to a wide range of negotiated outcomes.
The purpose of the paper is to update and inform the board of the FSA executive’s proposed plans. The Board is asked to consider and discuss the FSA’s plans and in particular to comment on the proposed principles (in paragraph 17) by which the FSA should assess whether the future regulatory regime for food safety will protect public health and meet the FSA’s statutory objective of protecting consumers’ interests in relation to food.
In addition, also provided to the Board is a more glossy leaflet setting out the findings from research conducted to assess the views of both the food and drink industry (Part 1) and the public (Part 2). The following are the introductory paragraphs from the two Parts. A copy of the document is available on this site – see: The UK's Views on the EU Exit and Food
LISTENING TO THE FOOD AND DRINK SECTOR’S PERSPECTIVE
Between October 2016 and January 2017 the Food Standards Agency (FSA) talked openly with organisations large and small involved in the food and drink sector about the UK’s exit from the EU. We listened as participants explored the opportunities and issues they perceive, and shared their expectations of the FSA.
LISTENING TO THE PUBLIC’S PERSPECTIVE
Since October 2016, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has researched the views of the public in England, Wales and Northern Ireland relating to the EU Exit and food. We listened to the opportunities and issues the public are thinking about, and their expectations of Government including the FSA. We asked about their understanding of EU food law and regulation. We have run several online surveys of approximately 1,500 over 16s, of which the latest wave was conducted in July 2017.
In addition to the surveys we also carried out eight focus groups in November 2016 across the UK (the groups were split evenly by voter preference in the EU referendum). We found that participants were not associating the EU Exit with the food market in terms of their priorities. They were generally unaware of the extent of the EU’s involvement in UK food regulation outside of media associations e.g. ‘wonky veg’. Participants agreed on an ‘initial pain’ for the UK consumer following the EU leave vote, but then identified opportunities to use the best parts of EU regulation.