Oxford farming conference

Does Groceries Code Adjudicator need new teeth?

By Laurence Gibbons

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Groceries code adjudicator Need

Tougher powers for the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) were under discussion at last week’s Oxford Farming Conference.

In this exclusive video for FoodManufacture.co.uk, Labour, Conservative and UKIP politicians shared their views on the current role of the GCA – Christine Tacon – and whether her powers should be revised.

Shadow food and farming minister Huw Irranca-Davies told this website there needed to be a discussion over whether or not she should have a wider range of sanctions, not necessarily bigger penalties.

“We do see from time-to-time penalties that shock the consumer as well as policy makers like myself,”​ he said.

‘Wider remit’

“I do think we need to get back to that debate of if it’s not the Competition Authority ​[that should resolve an issue] then does the Groceries Code Adjudicator need more teeth – A wider remit? We’ve said it today and we’ve said it before: that needs to be revisited.”

Irranca-Davies also claimed – in this video – that The Competition Authority was often reluctant to deal with issues.

Watch this video to hear why environment secretary Liz Truss said trade organisations should play a bigger role in bringing cases for investigation to the GCA.

Meanwhile, UKIP’s agriculture spokesman, Stuart Agnew, claimed that in order to increase credibility the GCA needed to secure a prosecution. Read more about the debate on the need for fresh powers for the GCA here​.

Don’t miss our video interviews with Irranca-Davies​ on the Labour’s food policy and Agnew​ on migrant labour.

Related topics Legal

Related news

Show more


More effectiveness in the chain of supply

Posted by Duncan Swift,

Following its 2-year sector review the Competition Commission recommended in April 2008 an improved code, GSCOP implemented Feb 2010, to be overseen by an Ombudsman. We did not get an Ombudsman and an Adjudicator is a poor substitute. The Adjudicator's role falls well short of being an Ombudsman in all key respects: (i) budget is 1/5th; (ii) position is part-time; (iii) scope only covers direct-suppliers rather than entire supply chain; (iv) formal supplier complaint is required to initiate any investigation i.e cannot independently sample relationships to overcome supplier-fear threshold; and, (v) despite all the talk to agree penalty levels it remains toothless. If you want more effective governance in the chain of supply it's not a question of having to 'go back the drawing board'; it's about properly implementing the remedy recommended in the first place.

Report abuse

More effectiveness in the chain of supply

Posted by David Faires,

Although a good start the limitation placed by the law at present for the GCA's role is only one link back from any supply to "the Ten". Therefore the financial pressure placed on,for example, dairy farmers is not necessarily within her remit. The Code itself limits the degree of intervention. Question - what kind of market do we want? We are all consumers and the short termism exercised by some buyers is absolutely unhelpful to the development of the food industry. A great many primary producers are giving up because of the effect on their earnings.

Report abuse

Follow us

Featured Jobs

View more


Food Manufacture Podcast

Listen to the Food Manufacture podcast