Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Thirty-Second Report


Memorandum by the Department of Health


1. The Joint Committee considered the above instrument at its meeting on 7 November and requested a memorandum on the following points:

    (1)  Regulation 3 inserts into the 1990 Regulations a definition of "the Directives". Explain where in those Regulations, as amended, the expression is used.

2. The expression "the Directives" is not used in the 1990 Regulations. It was therefore an error to have inserted a definition of "the Directives" into the 1990 Regulations.

    (2)  Explain the purpose and effect of the words "as the case may be" in the first place where they are inserted by regulation 7(b).

3. The purpose of those words was merely to underline the fact that where as regulation 7 of the 1990 Regulations formerly referred to Northern Ireland legislation only, it now refers to—

      (a)  Northern Ireland legislation; or
      (b)  Scottish legislation; or
      (c)  Welsh legislation.

It is accepted that the words "as the case may be" do not add anything to the disjunctive effect already achieved by the use of the word "or" in the phrase "Scotland or Wales".

    (3)  Paragraph 1(gg) of Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the 1990 Regulations, as inserted by regulation 9(c), requires the particulars to be sent to the licensing authority by the applicant for a licence to include details of the person who has been designated to be responsible for compliance with certain conditions. Explain what details are required to be provided.

4. It is envisaged that the details required to be provided in this case would include the designated person's identity, his qualifications and his position within the applicant's management structure.

    (4)  Paragraph 1(1)(a) of Part III of Schedule 1 to the 1990 Regulations, as substituted by regulation 12, permits the variation of a licence only if the licence as varied will apply to "the same one of the seven permitted description of food". Under the 1990 Regulations, may a licence apply to more than one permitted description of food? If it may, what is meant by the underlined words?

5. Under the 1990 Regulations, a licence may in principle apply to more than one permitted description of food. However, in practice there is only one food irradiation licence, relating to a single food irradiation facility in Swindon. In addition, for control purposes, there would in practice be a single licence for each permitted description of food. The amendment was drafted on that basis. It is however accepted that the amendment should have reflected the strict legal position.

    (5)  Explain what is intended by "£1,5000" in paragraph 2 of Part VI of Schedule 1 as substituted by regulation 14(a).

6. This is a printing error. The figure should read "£1,500". It is submitted that in view of the other figures specified in new paragraph 2, the context makes it clear that it is the extra "0" which is wrong.

    (6)  Paragraph 3 of Schedule 2 to the 1990 Regulations as substituted by regulation 15 provides that recognition of appropriate origin can relate to a county or to a territory. Are the references to a country in paragraph 3(3) intended to include references to a territory?

7. It is assumed that the Committee is referring to paragraph 3 of part II of Schedule 2, as substituted by regulation 15. In short, the answer to this question is "yes". In view of the fact that—

      (a)  Regulation 4(1) of S.I. 1990/2490 prohibits the import for the purpose of sale of any food which has been subjected to treatment by ionising radiation unless that food is, among other things, of a recognised appropriate origin;

      (b)  regulation 4(2) of S.I. 1990/2490 states that Schedule 2 has effect, among other things, in relation to the recognition of appropriate origins;

      (c)  paragraph 1 of Part II of Schedule 2 says that that part applies to the import of food irradiated in a country or territory outside the European Community;

      (d)  paragraph 3(1) of Part II of Schedule 2 provides that, in the case of the import of food other than herbs and spices irradiated in a country or territory outside the European Community, recognition of appropriate origin shall be effected by publication by the [Food Standards] Agency of a notice in the London Gazette declaring that an origin is an appropriate origin for the purposes of [the] Regulations; and

      (e)  paragraph 3(2) of Part II of Schedule 2 defines "origin" to mean, in relation to a country or territory specified in the notice published in the London Gazette pursuant to paragraph 3(1), origin in that country or territory.

It is on reflection clear that the references to a country in paragraph 3(3) of Part II of Schedule 2 (which imposes restrictions on the Food Standards Agency's power to effect recognition of appropriate origin in the case of imported foods) should have included references to a territory.

    (7)  Explain where the copies of the Code of Practice referred to in paragraph 1(1)(ff) of Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the 1990 Regulations, as inserted by regulation 9(b), may be obtained, and why this information was not included in the explanatory note as required by paragraph 2.48 of Statutory Instrument Practice.

8. The Code is referred to in Article 7.2 of Directive 1999/2/EC. It may be downloaded from the Codex website at:

9. The Code may also be purchased at the Stationery Office. It is contained in volume O1A of the Codex Alemanterius Commission general standards, ISBN No. 9251037620. The Department apologises for not including this information in the explanatory note, as required by paragraph 2.48 of Statutory Instrument Practice.

10. The Department sincerely regrets the errors identified above, which were caused in part by the fact that the instrument in question was prepared by officials in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and was transferred in near final form to the Food Standards Agency at its creation on 1.4.2000. The Department nevertheless accepts its responsibility for making these Regulations on the advice of the Food Standards Agency. While there are no immediate plans to amend the Food (Control of Irradiation) Regulations 1990 (S.I. 1990/2490), appropriate amendments will be made at the first available opportunity.

13 November 2000

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