Defra will no longer regulate laboratories that handle animal pathogens, such as Pirbright in Surrey, following a review by Sir Bill Callaghan in the wake of this summer's foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).
The government-run laboratory is the likeliest source of the outbreak, which halted exports and movements of live animals, and was estimated to cost the meat industry £10m a week.
The review, which was commissioned by Hilary Benn to look at recommendations made by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in its report on biosecurity at Pirbright, recommends Defra passes responsibility for regulation of both animal and human pathogens to the HSE, as a single independent body.
Benn said: "I fully accept all the recommendations made by Sir Bill Callaghan in this review. In particular, I agree that Defra should not continue as a regulator of laboratories handling animal pathogens. This is because of the clear need to have a single independent regulatory body.
"I very much welcome this report and am grateful to Sir Bill for this thorough investigation."