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Brexit, food law and the UK’s search for a post-EU identity

European Union

Mar 14, 2022

Food law has played a central, contested role in defining the UK's post-Brexit identity as a regulating and trading nation. Mapping reforms to key areas of food law across retained EU law, the UK internal market and UK trade law and policy reveals profound reforms, and an emerging, distinct UK approach to law-making. We identify three themes: increased conferral of regulatory powers and functions to UK Ministers, coupled with an expansion of so-called non-legislative approaches to regulation and policy-making and increased scope for divergence between UK nations. These reforms have achieved core aims of the UK government: autonomy from the EU, a fully frictionless internal market within Great Britain, and streamlined regulatory reform. However, the achievement of these aims has come at a price. Food law reveals that post-Brexit legislative processes have been shaped by, but also entrench, unilateral executive decision-making, lessened transparency and disunity between UK nations.

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