Forman & Son MD Lance Forman is feeling the burden of EU red tap even after Brexit


- Credit: Carmen Valino - on shift

During the Brexit campaign, I was often quoted as complaining that EU rules forced us to spend thousands of pounds on new packaging so that a packet of smoked salmon could have an EU warning sign on the back saying “contains fish”.

One customer tweeted his surprise that a company of Forman’s reputation would have a problem spending money on printing allergen information. I responded that if a customer doesn’t know that salmon is a fish, he or she has far bigger issues than food allergens.

EU directives are far too prescriptive and the one-size-fits-all nature is one of the reasons that small businesses across the country became so frustrated with the EU’s burdensome and costly red tape.

This December, new nutritional information has to be printed on every food label. Now this may be fine if you are Nestle or Heinz where millions of food products are being manufactured and the cost is negligible. However in a business such as ours, this is yet another huge cost.

Over the last 15 years we have developed our business into a bespoke food producer. We will produce anything customers require, providing it doesn’t compromise our own quality standards.

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Every day is different and each food label is different to the next, with recipes ever changing. So just imagine how hard and time consuming it is to calculate the nutritional values of each and every product, then set them up to print on a label.

However, the EU requires that we and every small food producer abides by the same rules. The most frustrating element of these new rules is that they are still being introduced at a time when we have already decided we are leaving the EU club.

Theresa May should press the pause button on any new regulations yet to be implemented and decide whether these are rules we would want to include within UK legislation anyway. If not, the red tape should stay on the roll. More from Lance

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