HC Deb 18 December 1995 vol 268 c928W
Mr. Congdon

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress his Department is making with the deregulation of food law, and if he will make a statement. [7117]

Mr. Douglas Hogg

I have today laid before Parliament the last of a set of regulations due to come into force on 1 January 1996, which will do much to simplify food law and remove outdated restrictions.

Eighteen food composition regulations, dating back to 1944, have been revoked and replaced by greatly simplified regulations, in just three areas, covering bread and flour, spreadable fats and cheese and cream.

Fourteen food additive regulations, dating back to 1967, have been revoked and replaced by three sets of regulations, which introduce new EC requirements for colours, sweeteners and other additives. We are also allowing the use of cyclamates as food additives, since they have now been given a clean bill of health by the Government's expert advisors.

We are planning to streamline the food labelling regulations in the same way. Certain changes will be made on 1 January but more extensive revision has had to be deferred until later in 1996, while some issues of detail are resolved.

Our aim is to keep the essential parts of food law which protect the health of the general public and make sure that they have the information they need, but to dispense where we can with the elaborate rules which have built up over the years. Because simpler law is easier to understand and easier to obey, it gives better protection. Removing arbitrary restrictions gives industry greater freedom to develop new products to meet changing consumer tastes.