The Government has responded to concerns raised by a Yorkshire peer over continued access to vital international food safety alerts post-Brexit, with Lord John Gardiner insisting that UK negotiators are committed to securing the provision.
As reported in The Yorkshire Post today and highlighted by Baroness Anne McIntosh, should Britain leave the European Union without a deal, it is at risk of no longer being privy to the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) which shares live information about health and food contamination issues that are developing across the EU.
Baroness McIntosh of Pickering was offered a reassurance by Lord Gardiner of Kimble when she voiced her concerns in the House of Lords this afternoon.
Lord Gardiner, who is Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: “While comprehensive contingency plans are in place, the Government remain committed to negotiating full access to RASFF.”
Baroness McIntosh pointed out that Britain was one of the major beneficiaries of the system and she urged Lord Gardiner to ensure that the nation’s continued access is “concluded at the earliest possible time”.
“This is not the time for the UK to go UK-centric. We need to keep our food as safe as possible for both human and animal consumption,” she said.
Lord Gardiner agreed that confidence in food was “paramount”, saying that the Food Standards Agency is “upscaling to increase its capacity and capability” and that the Government was also “upscaling” its interest in the World Health Organisation’s International Food Safety Authorities Network, a global network of national food safety authorities in 180 countries.