1. The Committee has considered
the instruments set out in the Annex to this Report and has determined
that the special attention of both Houses does not require to
be drawn to any of them.
2. A memorandum by the Accountant
in Bankruptcy in connection with the Bankruptcy Fees (Scotland)
Amendment Regulations 1999 (S.I. 1999/752) is printed in
Appendix I to this Report.
3. A memorandum by the Scottish
Office in connection with the Highlands and Islands Agricultural
Programme Amendment Regulations 1999 (S.I. 1999/647) is printed
in Appendix II to this Report.
4. A memorandum by the Home
Office in connection with the Young Offender Institution (Amendment)
(No. 2) Rules 1999 (S.I. 1999/962) is printed in Appendix
III to this Report.
5. A memorandum by the Department
of the Environment, Transport and the Regions in connection with
the Highways (Traffic Calming) Regulations 1999 (S.I. 1999/1026)
is printed in Appendix IV to this Report.
1999 (S.I. 1999/747)
6. The Committee draws the special
attention of both Houses to these Regulations on the ground that
they make an unexpectedly narrow use of powers resulting in an
inadequate implementation of a provision in Directive 79/112/EEC.
7. These Regulations, which
are made under powers contained in the Food Safety Act 1990, make
provision in consequence of the adoption of Council Regulation
(EC) No. 1139/8 which requires certain foodstuffs produced from
genetically modified soya beans or maize to be so labelled.
8. Regulation 12 of the present
Regulations inserts a new regulation 50(5) into the Food Labelling
Regulations 1996 (S.I. 1996/1499). New regulation 50(5) allows
a transitional period of six months beginning on 19th March 1999
during which the requirements as to the labelling of genetically
modified soya and maize will not apply in specified circumstances.
The Explanatory Note states that this provision is made further
to Article 12 of Directive 79/112/EEC, which authorises Member
States not to require the provision of all or some of the required
particulars provided that the consumer still receives sufficient
information. The Committee asked for an explanation as to how
the Regulations implemented the condition contained in the proviso.
9. In their memorandum (printed
in Appendix V) the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
state that they have interpreted the expression "sufficient
information" to mean that the information which the purchaser
receives must be sufficient to ensure that he is not misled as
to the food being purchased. They contend that, in the light of
the recited purposes of the Directive, sections 14 and 15 of the
Food Safety Act 1990 have the effect of implementing the condition
contained in the proviso in Article 12. Section 14 penalises the
sale of food "which is not of the nature or substance or
quality demanded by the purchaser"; and section 15
penalises the giving, in relation to food offered for sale, of
false or misleading information about it.
10. In the Commitee's view,
the requirement that the consumer must receive sufficient information
implies that the seller must give the information, whether or
not he is asked to do so by the purchaser; and therefore sections
14 and 15 (which do not require the seller to volunteer information)
do not have the effect of implementing the condition in the proviso.
Although section 14 will provide a sanction where the purchaser
asks for unmodified food but is furnished with genetically modified
food, it does not touch the many cases where the purchaser himself
selects the product without inquiring what it contains. And section
15 has no effect where no information at all is given. Accordingly
the Committee considers that the Regulations have not fully implemented
Article 12 of the Directive and reports the Regulations on the
ground that they make an unexpectedly narrow exercise of power.
1999 (S.I. 1999/992)
11. The Committee draws the
special attention of both Houses to these Regulations on the ground
that they are defectively drafted in two places.
12. In a memorandum printed
in Appendix VI, the Department of the Environment, Transport and
the Regions accept that the reference in regulation 4(a) to "sub-paragraph
(2)" of regulation 2 of the 1998 Regulations should have
read "paragraph 1"; and that in new regulation 25(4)
of the 1998 Regulations (substituted by regulation 8) the reference
to paragraph (2) should have been to paragraph (3). The Committee
reports regulations 4(a) and 8 for defective drafting, acknowledged
by the Department.
1 The Orders of Reference of the Committee are set out in the First Report, Session 1998-99 (HL Paper 4; HC 50-i). Back