FPA CALLS FOR PACKING INDUSTRY TO RESPOND TO FSA POST REVIEW IMPLEMENTATION

FPA CALLS FOR PACKING INDUSTRY TO RESPOND TO FSA POST REVIEW IMPLEMENTATION

The FPA is calling for members to respond this week to the Food Standards Agency (FSA) Post Implementation Review (PIR) of the Materials and Articles in Contact with Food (England) Regulations 2012.

Says Executive Director Martin Kersh: “We need to ensure that the existing legislation which reassures operators and protects consumers using foodservice packaging will remain in force post Brexit.   We strongly believe it is essential the food security of the UK is safeguarded post Brexit.

“In doing so we must ensure there is no dilution of food standards or packaging standards. We take the view that ensuring safe food requires safe packaging and that we must provide the consumer with full confidence in the safety of everything they consume and eat whether in home or on-the-go.“

The FPA therefore believes that the current legislation must remain in place in order to protect those buying and using foodservice packaging.

Adds Martin Kersh: “We urge members and UK packaging industry as a whole to respond to the review by following the link below.  Although the official date for submissions has passed we are assured that anything submitted now will be taken into consideration.”

The link to respond is here:

https://www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/consultations/2017/post-implementation-review-of-the-materials-and-articles-in-contact-with-food-england-regulations-2012#overlay-context=user

The FPA response to the three questions posed by the review is here:

With respect to the PIR we have consulted with a number of our members and so respond as follows:

We invite stakeholders to provide evidence if they believe that the actual familiarisation costs incurred were higher or lower than our estimates in the 2012 impact assessment to accompany the Regulations (Question 1)

FPA members have indicated no significant additional costs in familiarisation. Of course a number use 3rd party organisation to provide them with information and to undertake testing, so the familiarisation costs are no doubt contained within their expenditure with these organisations such as the charges for attending seminars. We wonder whether the high cost of these seminars may be a deterrent to smaller companies. We would therefore welcome seminars conducted by the FSA at a lower cost or on line training.

We invite stakeholders to comment on whether simplification of the Regulations led to benefits for industry and enforcement officers? (Question 2)

Having all the legislation in one place is helpful for smaller businesses as long as they are given confidence there is only one over arching regulation they need to reference to ensure compliance. Without this reassurance there will be concern that a regulation may be missed.

As legislation develops and changes, perhaps as a consequence of new research findings, who will have responsibility for ensuring all new legislation will reside within the 2012 Regulation? What will the position be if a business relies totally on the 2012 Regulation and subsequently discovers another piece of legislation or regulation exists but doesn’t reside within it? Post Brexit, bearing in mind businesses will wish to continue to trade with Europe will new EU regulations and regulatory changes be reflected in the 2012 Regulations. If not then businesses will be no better off with regard to regulations than they were before the 2012 Regulations were introduced.

We invite stakeholders to comment on whether the enforcement of the EU Regulations and the implementation of EU Directives on food contact materials leads to extra burdens on businesses than the implementation in other Member States? Please provide evidence where additional burdens have been identified (Question 3)

The implementation of the EU Directives on FCMs has not added any significant burden to business over what they experienced prior to the 2012 Regulation. Compliance comes at a large cost but that is considered by responsible manufacturers and brands to be simply part of the cost of being in business. There are however increasing concerns that while businesses are allocating resources to be totally compliant, the volume of packaging breaching FCM regulations or at least lacking legitimate paperwork to prove compliance is increasing. This means compliant producers are trading on an uneven playing field and so by virtue of their compliance are disadvantaged.

The positive view of the 2102 Regulation among UK packaging manufacturers therefore is in danger of being eroded. We recognise the FSA needs to be provided with evidence of non compliance so the process of providing evidence should be reviewed so more businesses are encouraged to provide it.  Many retailers are not aware of the Regulation and so do not know they are using non compliant packaging and perhaps have no understanding that it is possible for packaging to be potentially in breach.  Compliant businesses want an increase in communication by the FSA to smaller businesses with regard to the FCM Regulations so they are aware of the questions they must ask of their packaging suppliers.

We suspect knowledge and understand of hygiene regulations far outstrips that of those concerning FCM’s. We therefore ask the FSA to ensure small businesses are made aware of the Regulations and the penalties for being in breach. A campaign is urgently needed.

For more information please contact FPA Executive Director Martin Kersh on email admin@foodservicepackaging.org.uk or call landline 02079 938343

Issued on behalf of the FPA by Leapfrog PR. Editorial contact is Felicity Read on 01242 282000 or email felicity@leapfropgpr.com