Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Eighteenth Report



EIGHTEENTH REPORT

FROM THE JOINT COMMITTEE OF BOTH HOUSES APPOINTED TO SCRUTINISE STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS, ETC.[1]

ORDERED TO REPORT:

  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.


FOOD LABELLING (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 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.


MERCHANT SHIPPING (FIRE PROTECTION) (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 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

 
previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries

© Parliamentary copyright 1999
Prepared 27 May 1999