Food & Agri Update - Fri 12 May

Sunsetting - Bonfire of EU Regulations to become just a smoulder?

The government confirmed this week that it is no longer pursuing the sunset clause in the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill (REUL).

The sunset clause’s function was to ensure retained EU law (REUL) not otherwise preserved or replaced in UK law before the end of 2023 would be automatically repealed at the year’s end.  To replace it, the government has tabled a Schedule listing around 600 specific pieces of secondary legislation and EU legislation that will be revoked.  The rest of the  EU legislation will remain mandatory in the UK unless or until it is specifically amended or repealed.

In a written parliamentary statement, business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch said Whitehall departments had been working hard over the past year to identify retained EU law to preserve, reform or revoke. ‘However, with the growing volume of REUL being identified, and the risks of legal uncertainty posed by sunsetting instruments made under EU law, it has become clear that the programme was becoming more about reducing legal risk by preserving EU laws than prioritising meaningful reform.’

the full list of amendments to the Bill has now been published, including the new schedule detailing all the EU retained law to be revoked at the end of 2023; around 600 laws will be revoked, rather than the 4,000 previously indicated.

Stakeholders will want to examine the new Schedule to assess its impact.

Business generally has welcomed the move to allow for legal certainty and trading with the EU. The FSA pledged to work with the industry to address any concerns over food safety laws that might be revoked or amended in the future.

Windsor Framework

The  House of Lords Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland Committee took evidence on the impact of the Windsor Framework on retail businesses and on the manufacturing and production of goods in Northern Ireland this week.

BRC food and sustainability director Andrew Opie gave evidence he expects guidance on labelling to be published in the next 10 days.  Mr Opie said supermarkets need urgent clarity on the issue as labelling changes take months to implement.

The “Not for EU” labels on meat and dairy products are to be phased in from October

According to the timetable set out in the Windsor framework “Not for EU” labels will be required for meat and fresh dairy products going into Northern Ireland from October 2023, and for UHT milk and butter from October 2024. All fruit, vegetables and fish will have to have the labels by July 2025.

All products will also need to carry the labels in Great Britain from October 2024 after the government has consulted with the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales and passed legislation to bring the new rules into force outside Northern Ireland.

The proposed changes will therefore require separate labelling for food businesses and retailers exporting certain foods to the Republic of Ireland and the rest of the EU increasing both logistics, complexity and costs.

UK Guidance has not introduced any proposed legislation however in guidance documentation there has been the indication this would move to “These products from the United Kingdom may not be sold outside Northern Ireland”.  Further Guidance indicates this will follow the products indicated by EU; but may also be extended UK wide for those products:

“The Windsor Framework: A new Way Forward”  Paragraph 23 on pages 11 and 12 notes that:  “A subset of high-risk products such as meat, dairy and other composite products will be labelled at a product-level on a phased basis through to 2025, in line with the proposals [the UK government set out in its] July 2021 Command Paper. Those labelling requirements will first be introduced on meat and fresh dairy from October 2023, with the Government providing transitional reimbursement funding during this first phase. From October 2024 these requirements will be extended to include all other dairy products, such as UHT milk and butter, and would be proposed to apply UK-wide from that point, in consultation with the Scottish and Welsh Governments. From July 2025, composite products, fruit, vegetables and fish will also be labelled on a UK-wide basis” (emphasis added).

Enforcement of HFSS Rules

The Grocer has reported Trading Standards have received just £35,000 for national enforcement of HFSS measures.

The government expects to provide less than £35,000 a year across all local authorities in England to help them enforce its HFSS promotions clampdown, according to figures uncovered by The Grocer.

Restrictions on promotions and placement of foods high in fat salt or sugar (HFSS) came into force last October 2022 ie a ban on promotion of HFSS products in prominent store locations, such as front of store and aisle ends; whilst further proposals for a ban on multibuy HFSS deals, including BOGOS were postponed but expected October this year 2023.

Under the regime, stores that fail to comply with the rules on HFSS promotions face being served with improvement notices by local authorities, which can escalate to fines from £2,500 upwards, and criminal prosecutions if not complied with.

Fairness in the Food Supply Chain

The Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has launched a cross-party committee Fairness in the Food Supply Chain enquiry. It will investigate how the government monitors and regulates the supply chain.  The parliamentary committee will look at issues throughout the food supply chain from ‘farm to fork’. It will take evidence from, among others, farmers, manufacturers, retailers, consumers and the Government. After taking oral evidence in parliamentary evidence sessions, as well as written evidence, the Committee will issue a report with its recommendations for change where appropriate.  The Committee is inviting written submissions to the inquiry from people in the various parts of the supply chain as well as experts, academics and other people with experience in the area.  MPs to investigate fairness in food prices and supply - Committees - UK Parliament

Food Hygiene - high fine for McDonald's

McDonald’s Restaurant Limited have been fined £475,000 after a rodent infestation was discovered by Waltham Forest Council’s environmental health officers at their premises in Leytonstone.

The restaurant was ordered to pay the sum plus £22,000 in costs at Thames Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to three charges of hygiene breaches.

Environmental Health Officers visited the restaurant in High Road, Leytonstone, in October 2021, after a customer complained they had found droppings in their 24-hour drive-thru order.

On receipt of the complaint, Environmental Health Officers visited the restaurant and found conditions at the premises which presented a real risk to the health of customers using restaurant.

The poor hygiene conditions were found by officers despite paperwork claiming cleaning schedules had been completed.

The officers determined the premises was so unhygienic that it posed an “imminent risk to health” and ordered the restaurant be immediately closed with customers asked to leave.

Following the closure the store remained closed for 10 days, at which point the council’s officers were satisfied that all the issues identified had been resolved and the premises allowed to re-open.

McDonald’s was charged with the following:

Count 1:  On 07th October 2021, at McDonald’s, 865-873 High Road, Leytonstone, London E11 1HR, you did contravene the provisions of Part II, Section 14 (1) of the Food Safety Act 1990, and sold food to the purchaser’s prejudice, namely selling a cheeseburger to the purchaser containing a mouse dropping within the food wrapper. Contrary to Section 35(2) of the Food Safety Act 1990.

Count 2:  On 15th October 2021 at McDonald’s, 865-873 High Road, Leytonstone, London E11 1HR, you did contravene the provisions of Annex II, Chapter IX, Paragraph 4 of Regulation (EC) 852/2004 on the hygiene food stuffs, namely you failed to put in place adequate procedures to control pests in that:

• An ongoing mouse infestation was found on the premises, including the kitchen where open food and ingredients are stored and handled.

Contrary to Regulation 19(1) of the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 made under s.2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972

Count 3:  On 15th October 2021, at McDonald’s, 865-873 High Road, Leytonstone, London E11 1HR, you did contravene the provisions Annex II, Chapter 1, Paragraph 1 of the Regulation (EC) 852/2004 on the hygiene foodstuffs, in that:

• There were very poor levels of cleanliness evident across the business, including the kitchen where open food and ingredients were stored and handled.

Contrary to Regulation 19(1) of the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 made under s.2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972


The importance of good food hygiene in restaurants should never be overlooked both from a food safety as well as a criminal and reputational viewpoint.  Additionally, the starting off point for criminal sentencing guidelines is to look at culpability and harm before the annual turnover of the organisation, and then assessing the aggravating and mitigating factors to come to an appropriate fine.  Organisations: Breach of food safety and food hygiene regulations – Sentencing (

It is important that all aspects of food safety should be met and recorded and proper systems for implementing this are in place. 

How to manage safety and hygiene in the kitchen can be found via FSA guidance Food hygiene for your business | Food Standards Agency and  Safer food, better business and information packs for caterers Safer food, better business for caterers | Food Standards Agency.

Protected Designation of Origin ‘Parma’ upheld

The Parma Ham Consortium has acted to protect its’ PDO and denomination via three legal proceedings that took place in Italy and Germany.

A protected designation of origin (PDO) is a name that identifies a product originating in a specific place, region or, exceptionally, country, the quality or characteristics of which are essentially or exclusively due to a particular geographical environment, with the natural and human factors inherent therein; and, furthermore, the production stages of which take place entirely within the defined geographical area. This is laid down in Article 5 of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012.

The disputes concerned various delicatessen products referencing the PDO of Parma.

The first dispute in Germany was linked to the use of the denomination "Culatello di Parma", applied by a company located in the province of Parma to a cured meat sold in some EU countries.  The principle sanctioned by the German judges, in line with those defined by the EU Court of Justice in similar cases, is that "Culatello di Parma" illegitimately exploited the reputation of the PDO, with the inclusion of the toponym "Parma" in its name, and tried to get a commercial advantage from it, through the allusion to the Prosciutto di Parma denomination for a good that belonged to the same product category.

Similarly in Italy, a large number of packages of bacon and salami, which bore a brand name and a denomination containing the word "Parma" on the label were seized.  The two manufacturing companies concerned filed an appeal arguing that the indication "Parma" constituted an evocation of the PDO only if it referred to a strictly analogous product. In first instance this was rejected and it was asserted that the evocation also existed between different products of the same reference product category and that the protection of the PDO Prosciutto di Parma does not extend only to the denomination registered as a whole, but also to the geographical element "of Parma" alone, also inhibiting its use even in cases where the headquarters of the manufacturing company are actually located in the territory of the province of Parma.

Max Levels of certain contaminants in food

The new regulation of the European Commission, n° 915/2023, EUR-Lex - 32023R0915 - EN - EUR-Lex ( comes into force on 25 May 2023, and will replace the previous regulation n° 1881/2006. The new legislation regulates the maximum levels in foods relating to mycotoxins, vegetable toxins, metals, halogenated persistent organic pollutants (Dioxins and PCBs, perfluoroalkyl substances), process contaminants, other contaminants. For each of the contaminants, vegetable or animal foods are reported, for which there are limits.

"The maximum levels should be set at a rigorous level that is reasonably achievable through good agricultural, fishing and manufacturing practices, also taking into account the risks associated with food consumption. In case a risk arises health, maximum levels for contaminants should be set as low as reasonably achievable (Alara)."

The foods listed in Annex I cannot be placed on the market, or used as raw materials or ingredients in foods, if they contain a contaminant in a quantity higher than the maximum level established in the same Annex. Foodstuffs which comply with the maximum levels set out in Annex I may not be mixed with foods in which these maximum levels are exceeded.

Our content explained

Every piece of content we create is correct on the date it’s published but please don’t rely on it as legal advice. If you’d like to speak to us about your own legal requirements, please contact one of our expert lawyers.

Posted by


Mills & Reeve Sites navigation
A tabbed collection of Mills & Reeve sites.
My Mills & Reeve navigation
Subscribe to, or manage your My Mills & Reeve account.
My M&R


Register for My M&R to stay up-to-date with legal news and events, create brochures and bookmark pages.

Existing clients

Log in to your client extranet for free matter information, know-how and documents.


Mills & Reeve system for employees.