Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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Food Law News - UK - 2023

CTSI News Item, 11 May 2023

BREXIT - Decision to Scrap the Sunset is welcome, but has been a major distraction, says CTSI

Legislation covering vital protections for food, product safety laws and regulations affecting animal health and welfare are now safe from being lost at the end of 2023.

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has welcomed the decision to scrap the sunset for most EU derived legislation, but has expressed concern at how close to the wire the potential loss to vital consumer protections came.

CTSI along with its Safeguarding Our Standards coalition of charities, and Which? have been campaigning tirelessly to call for a delay to the Government’s proposed Retained EU Law Bill (REUL), who yesterday announced the removal of the Sunset Clause which would have seen over 4000 pieces of vital protections lost on the 31 December 2023 if they were not reviewed and rewritten.

CTSI urged the Government to change tack last year, with more than 90% of members calling for the Government to delay the introduction of the Bill, citing product safety and food safety as areas of particular concern. The Institute is pleased the Government has now listened to the voices of key stakeholders representing consumers and businesses, and welcomed the adoption of a more phased approach.

John Herriman, Chief Executive of CTSI, said: “While the announcement from Government is welcome, it is worth remembering how close to the wire this has been, and that the Bill has been both a mammoth undertaking and a major distraction for Government departments at a time when resources could have been allocated to tackling more pressing issues for consumers. The focus on Retained EU Law has also potentially created a logjam where progress in other areas, including the long-awaited product safety review has stalled. We will now be reviewing the 600 pieces of legislation which are still at risk of being scrapped, to ensure that no vital protections for UK consumers or businesses are lost.

“The Government needs to take the time to consult with stakeholders to properly assess what can be revoked from EU Law, and what changes need to be made to ensure we don’t risk undermining important consumer protection laws and that we have a robust system that meets the needs of the modern day”.

CTSI along with Which? had tabled a number of amendments to clauses in a bid to protect vital safety protections from falling through the cracks. The amendments sparked debates that the Government just could not ignore.

CTSI agrees that legislation needs to be examined to ensure it is fit for purpose and in keeping with the needs of modern businesses and consumers and there is a real opportunity here to make changes for the good, but not with the original timescale set out in the Bill.

Part of the Government’s announcement was that 600 Laws would be revoked on the 31 December 2023, and CTSI along with its experts will be reviewing these laws to ensure that nothing is being lost that will harm consumers or businesses.

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