Ex Business Minister
@Anna_Soubry explains why small businesses are better off IN:
On December 13 new European food labelling regulations come into play…. yet again. Strange isn’t it, that in today’s world with more labelling, more food hygiene practices in play and more information on food packaging than we could ever hope to comprehend, all supposedly to protect us the consumers, we have more food allergies and obesity than ever before.
The regulations are mad.
From December 13, every packet of smoked salmon we now produce has to say “contains fish”. Yes really. But not only do we now have to print “contains fish”, the font and boldness of the writing on the packaging has to be a certain size, shape, colour, height, style and language etc etc. Heaven forbid we wrote in the official EU language of French – contains “poisson”. Someone not bright enough to know that salmon is a fish may think we are out to intoxicate them.
As well as smoking salmon, Forman’s is a business that produces bespoke food. Every recipe we produce and every client we supply has products tailored to them. This means that between now and next month we have to change tens of thousands of our labels supposedly to protect our customers, even though in our 109 year history, long before the EU even existed, we have never harmed anyone. The time and cost of undertaking this exercise is massive for no real benefit. Will customers pay more for our salmon because we told them it’s a fish? I don’t think so.
The nanny state bureaucracy of Europe is hell for small businesses. The CBI and large businesses often support Europe because they have large infrastructures to deal with bureaucracy like this and indeed they often lobby for it as it protects them against potential competition from the small guys like us. It creates a barrier to competition. But most people in Britain work in small businesses and small businesses are the driving force behind growth and innovation in Britain. British business does not speak with one voice on Europe and Europe is not good for small businesses.
I would like to propose from tomorrow onwards, the EU itself should have a very big label on it – “contains nuts”.