Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Nineteenth Report


Memorandum by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

BEEF BONES REGULATIONS 1997 (S.I. 1997/2959)

1. The Committee considered the above instrument at its meeting on 13th January 1998 and requested a memorandum on the following point:

    "Given that, to those selling beef and the consumer, the scope of the main prohibitions in these Regulations is crucial, would it not have made for easier understanding of their scope if, instead of making their application depend on five interlinked definitions****[4], the Regulations had started with an application provision to the effect that the Regulations apply to "beef" to which any bone is attached and to "beef bones", defining those expressions (in the application provision) in terms of a bovine animal aged over six months at slaughter which is a food source".

2. The Committee has made an attractive drafting suggestion which was in fact considered by the lawyer who drafted the Regulations during the early stages of their preparation. Such an application provision was however rejected in favour of the interpretation provisions at regulation 2 of the Regulations.

3. Three of the five interlinked definitions, those of "bovine animal", "carcase" and "fresh meat", are closely based on the corresponding definitions in the Fresh Meat (Hygiene and Inspection) Regulations 1995, S.I 1995/539; and the other two are interlinked with them to minimise the extent of new definitions in the Regulations. This was part of the decision to settle the Regulations so far as possible within the existing structure of food safety legislation, with the intention of helping the consumer and those selling beef to understand the Regulations and their scope.

4. The Ministry submits with this memorandum 25 copies of the memorandum voluntarily submitted at the time the Regulations were laid to help the Committee be reminded why the Ministry considered it necessary to lay the Regulations before Parliament less than twenty-one days before they came into force.

19th January 1998

****i.e. bone-in-beef, bone, bovine animal, carcase and fresh meat. Back

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