It’s said, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes”, however, I would propose another certainty that exists for business in general and trade associations in particular, and that is – new legislation.

To back this theory up, we checked out the FWD archive at Eastbourne to see what was happening in the wider grocery world 50 years ago. A bound volume of copies of “The Wholesale Grocer” for August 1956 came up with the goods.

It reported on the annual luncheon of the Food Manufacturers’ Federation where the FMF president said: “With the new Food and Drugs Act, the Hygiene Regulations, the prospect of a new Weights and Measures law, issues over labeling and the continuing activity of the Food Standards Committee, the industry is receiving a fair amount of attention on the legislative front.”

The more things change, the more they stay the same. But, what of the future?

Well, hope may yet be at hand in the form the newly constituted Food Industry Better Regulation and Policy Group (FIBR) that FWD has been invited to join. This initiative comes from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs and follows on from its Food Industry Sustainability Strategy that was published earlier this year. Meeting four times a year, there will be a main group of between 12 and 20 people, of whom at least 10 will be drawn from a broad range of food and drink business interests like FWD. The remainder will come from government departments.

The FIBR’s likely terms of reference will enable food industry representatives to receive early notification on new regulatory initiatives. Also, they will be able to input and discuss their views with senior government officials at an early stage in the formulation of UK regulatory policy and EU legislation. The idea is that this will ensure that regulations and other Government/EU measures affecting the food industry are appropriate and that implementation is proportionate, consistent and sensitive to the food industry’s operational needs and pressures.

Additionally, the group is intended to foster joined up working between senior officials from different government departments and provide a facility to consult the food industry’s various sectors at an early stage about suggestions and options for better regulation, as well as alternatives to regulation.

This is a group that FWD will be giving its full support to.

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