Industry leaders in Scotland have called for a common UK approach to food labelling and standards post-Brexit, despite fears that such a move could see a power grab from Westminster of currently devolved powers.

In a joint statement today FDF Scotland, Scottish Bakers, and the Scottish Retail Consortium called for a “common regulatory approach” in the area, to avoid what they claimed would be unnecessary cross-border complexity.

It comes amid an ongoing debate between the UK government and the devolved parliaments over where powers being transferred from the EU will sit after Brexit, including issues such as front of pack food labelling.

“When the UK leaves the EU it is set to herald a fresh chapter of devolution with substantial additional powers and responsibilities for the Scottish Parliament as well as the assemblies in Wales and Northern Ireland,” the groups said.

“This will lead to a more diverse and complex public policy environment for manufacturers and retailers - and their supply chains - to operate in.

“Our concern is less about where these 111 powers being repatriated from Brussels ultimately reside, rather it is about ensuring that on a small number of areas in particular - such as food and nutrition labelling and food compositional standards - there is the fullest possible alignment post-Brexit, with the devolved and UK administrations working together on a shared approach in order to minimise duplication and discrepancy for manufacturers and retailers.

“Scotland’s businesses benefit enormously from the existing and largely unfettered UK single market. It allows manufacturers and retailers to capitalise on the efficiencies derived from regulatory consistency and economies of scale which in turn reduces business costs, increases productivity, and ultimately keeps down prices and provides more choice for customers.”

The Grocer first revealed last year that Food Standards Scotland (FSS) bosses feared UK ministers would scrap their independent powers on areas such as labelling in a post-Brexit shakeup.

It warned a Westminster centralised regulatory framework could see devolved powers watered down or taken away altogether, and damage the ability of the Scottish authorities to target specific areas such as health labelling in the face of the country’s obesity crisis.