New industry regulations must be in place by March 29, 2019 for the foodservice sector in the UK, including standards for exports to EU countries, according to the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
Other rules would likely involve the business of catering, so equipment repair service will also become more relevant to maintain compliance. FSA Chair Heather Hancock said that a new set of rules will be important to avoid jeopardising trading opportunities and jobs post-Brexit.
Hancock also dispelled speculation over self-regulation following the country’s exit from the EU. The industry rumours stemmed from the FSA’s current Regulating Our Future program, which would shift to more specific regulatory policies that focus on the level of risk for individual businesses instead of a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
There is also a possibility that businesses may pass on the higher price of food and drinks to consumers, which is another consequence of leaving the EU, according to Brexit Minister Mike Russell. Despite these predicted trends, food and drink manufacturers remain positive about their outlook on the industry.
An industry survey showed that 60% of its respondents are still confident on potential business prospects post-Brexit. Those who expect higher revenues in the next 12 months represented 76% of the surveyed companies, while 67% believe that orders will increase in the same period.
Almost 25% of them admitted that there would be no favourable negotiations for the industry after leaving the EU, although employment will be a bigger concern for them since EU workers account for a significant share of the workforce.
While there is general uncertainty over the impact of Brexit, the food service industry should prepare on how to address the coming changes. From best practices in food handling to regulatory-compliant equipment, the looming EU exit would be more tolerable with the right contingency plans.