Brexit ‘risks food safety’

4 Jun 18

Brexit could threaten UK food safety standards if regulators lose access to vital intelligence about contamination, council leaders have warned.

The Local Government Association has called on the government to ensure that England maintains access to food-safety and animal-health systems across the European Union after the country withdraws.

Councils have warned of increased risk to public health if regulators cannot access information systems tracing high-risk products and gain rapid access to intelligence about contamination.

Under the terms of the draft EU–UK withdrawal agreement, access to food-safety databases would be lost after 2020 leaving regulators “in limbo”, the LGA said.

The LGA has asked the government – regardless of the final Brexit agreement – to ensure that the country continues to have access to crucial food-safety systems.

Kevin Bentley, chair of the LGA’s Brexit taskforce, said: “If we lose access to these databases, we will lose access to vital intelligence about the origin of food, feed and animal products, and won’t be aware when rapid alerts are issued to the rest of the continent.”

Alerts are often sent by European regulators to highlight concerns about such matters as pesticides, mercury levels, salmonella and E. coli.

“After years of funding reductions for trading standards and environmental health, we simply do not have the capacity to increase checks to offset this risk, either at ports or inland, unless this is fully funded,” said Bentley.

“Continued access to these EU-wide databases is of vital importance and the government and the European Union must ensure that it is maintained.”

Meg Hillier warned the government should be costing up bringing quangos back to replace EU regulation, in an exclusive interview with PF.

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