Restaurants and hotels could be forced to keep a record of where produce bought from suppliers has come from, if new "traceability" laws that came into effect this month prove successful.
The new regulations introduced in January by the Food Standards Agency require food producers, suppliers and sellers to keep a record of the person or business they bought their food from and who they sold it to.
At the moment the regulations do not apply to hotels and restaurants, but will apply to their suppliers.
Business pressure group the Forum of Private Business has warned the new rules could cost firms an extra £850m a year in added bureaucracy, and could force some suppliers out of business.
A spokesman for the forum said that, for hotels and restaurants, the most immediate impact was likely to be suppliers having to increase their costs to cover the extra bureaucracy.
"If suppliers are not able or not willing to comply with the regime they may decide the only thing to do is to go out of business," he added.
There had also been talk of extending the rules to hotels and restaurants, he warned.
"It has been mooted as a way of dealing with health scares and to help people with food intolerances. It is only talk at the moment but there is every chance that it might come about," he argued.
by Nic Paton
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