By Marcus Leach
New food storage rules being considered by the European Commission would cost retailers at least £100 million and have a damaging impact on the environment while making no difference to hygiene standards.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is urging the UK Government to do more to support its campaign against the plans.
The Commission is currently consulting on plans to introduce a required temperature of two degrees Celsius for all chilled food while it's being stored and transported as part of revised Food Hygiene Regulations. The existing UK rules are more than adequate, allowing retailers to establish their own practices providing they can prove the temperatures they operate at are safe.
Upgrading equipment would cost large retailers alone at least £100 million. Energy consumption would have to rise by an estimated twenty per cent to produce the lower temperatures, increasing carbon dioxide emissions and adding further to retailers' bills.
"This is a prime example of unnecessary business regulation making it harder for retailers to invest and grow. Retailers already follow rules which ensure food is stored and delivered at temperatures which keep it in top condition. New legislation dictating a specific temperature wouldn't do anything to improve safety or quality," British Retail Consortium Food Director, Andrew Opie, said.
"The Government has made a lot of noise about its Red Tape Challenge and its intentions to reduce regulation. This is a key test. The Government has been supportive on this issue but if it's serious about supporting business growth, opposing the introduction of this kind of flawed legislation by Europe needs to be a priority.
"These proposals would cost retailers and the environment dear while benefitting no-one. It's time for ministers to prove their commitment to better regulation by supporting the fight against them."
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