You’ve probably already heard, we’re leaving the EU. But how is Brexit likely to affect the catering industry? It’s hard to say for certain at this stage, but there could be opportunities as well as threats.
Will the Government now slash EU legislation and red tape?
Probably not (for a while at least). All EU legislation is also ratified into UK law and is currently on the UK statute books as UK law. Radical changes to food safety are unlikely to be a government priority with so much else going on at the moment.
Have we avoided any dodgy legislation?
We just might have. Recently certain EU nations were pushing for the banning of core cleaning products (quaternary ammonia and some hydrochlorates) which would make it extremely difficult to clean effectively. We would hope that the ban will not now be imposed on UK catering businesses. It is however, likely to apply to food businesses exporting to the EU.
Will food prices go up?
Probably, in the short term at least. If the pound remains at a lower level than pre-Brexit it will cost more to import food, and will likely be exacerbated by higher fuel prices. In the short term at least, food prices are likely to increase if the pound’s value remains lower. In addition, a good deal of seasonal farm labourer work is carried out by EU workers. It’s still unclear whether this will continue and, if it doesn’t, certain food prices may increase too.
And inspection charging?
Bit of a shame this. 2,700 NCASS members signed a petition to stop inspection charging causing the EU to back down and leave it up to national regulators to make decisions on fees. It seems from the recent Food Standards Agency review that charging may be back on the cards for UK food businesses, but we would expect this to be for re-inspections rather than periodical inspections.
Do you need to worry?
No. NCASS will continue to represent our industry at local, national and EU level, to protect your interests and create
opportunities for profitable trade. If you are an NCASS member please rest assured that, no matter what happens, you will always be among the first to know of any changes that could affect your business. Our country’s status will never compromise that. And if you’re not yet an NCASS member but would like to know more about us, then great! Please call the NCASS support team on 0121 603 2524 or visit www.ncass.org.uk/join