Michelmores discusses Post-Brexit Policy and Legislation at the 2021 Insects as Food and Feed (IAFF) Conference

Michelmores is delighted to support the fifth Insects as Food and Feed (IAFF) Conference, taking place virtually on 20, 21 and 22 April 2021. IAFF is a collaborative event between ADAS, Michelmores and the Royal Entomological Society's Food & Feed Special Interest Group.  

A record number of delegates from around the globe (including entomologists, insect producers, policy makers and academics, among many others) have come together to consider the industry around insects in animal feed and as food for human consumption. Michelmores lawyers Rachel O'Connor, Senior Associate in Michelmores' Agriculture team, and Freya Lemon, Senior Associate in the Firm's Commercial team, attended the event.  

With a focus on the UK legal position, on day one of the conference Freya Lemon discussed insect food and feed legislation and policy, post-Brexit. A snapshot of the current insect food and feed position in the UK, immediately post-Brexit, is outlined in the video below.

Legislation and regulation must play a vital role when pushing forward and growing the insect food and feed sphere.

The regulation of insects in animal feed and in food in the UK predominantly derives from EU law. Following Brexit, the general position under the Withdrawal Acts and supporting legislation is that EU-derived law in place domestically in the UK immediately prior to the 'Exit Date' (11:00 pm on 31 December 2020) is retained by the UK on and after this date (EU Retained Law).

For the purpose of considering the law relevant to the UK insect food and feed sphere, we therefore need to continue to pay close attention to EU Retained Law.

As we have now passed the Exit Date, any future changes at EU-level will not apply automatically to the UK's legal position. Changes will be subject to the UK implementing its own equivalent law, at its own discretion. Equally, the UK has the power and discretion to update and implement domestic legislation regarding insects in animal feed and as food.

The impact of this is as follows: Should the EU make future regulatory changes to animal feed law (such as permitting processed insect protein in pig or poultry feed – see Rachel's previous article on Insect farming here) or edible insect law (such as approving Novel Food applications – see Freya's previous article on EFSA's recent scientific opinion here), those changes will not automatically apply to the UK legal position. Changes would instead be subject to the UK implementing its own law, at its own discretion.

It remains important to keep in mind that trade between the UK and EU member states will require continued compliance with local laws. This must be factored by policy makers and will impact policy in the EU and UK around any legislative changes, and particularly any devolution from the EU Retained Law position.

Michelmores will be monitoring this area closely.