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14/03/14 09:45

Food Standards Scotland

Government Bill to create new Scottish food safety body introduced today

Plans to create a new food body for Scotland were unveiled today as a Bill began its passage through the Scottish Parliament.

The Food (Scotland) Bill, published today, sets out objectives for the new public body which will replace the current UK organisation, the Food Standards Agency.

Outlined in the Bill, the key aims of Food Standards Scotland (FSS) will be to:

  • Make sure food in Scotland continues to be safe to eat
  • Advise on how to improve the diet and nutrition of people in Scotland
  • Be more efficient and more responsive to Scottish circumstances
  • Be an effective and proportionate regulator, supporting the Scottish food and drink industry in growing its strong, international reputation for safe, quality food
  • Support Scotland’s food and drink policy

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson said: “Scotland’s new food safety body will be uniquely placed to focus on Scottish priorities and the Bill published today outlines what we will be expecting FSS to achieve.

“While Scottish businesses were not responsible for last year’s horsemeat scandal we have included extra measures in the Bill so consumers can be even more assured that targeting fraudulent behaviour throughout the food supply chain remains a high priority for us in the future.”

“The body will be given specific enforcement powers to seize food that does not meet food standards or labelling rules and it will also be compulsory to report non-compliance with food standards regulations, which cover food fraud.

“FSS will also be tasked with advising on how we improve people’s diet and nutrition – playing a key role in progressing our vision of a healthier Scotland. We hope the body will be a trusted source of food safety advice to the Government, led from within Scotland and with the confidence and ambition to ensure Scottish food continues to be safe and healthy to eat.”

Speaking in support of the creation of a new food body for Scotland, Cabinet Secretary for Food and Drink, Richard Lochhead, said:

“It is a key aim of this government to support the growth of the Scottish food and drink industry, which is known the world over for its safety, high quality and impeccable provenance. Consumers at home and abroad must be able to trust what they are eating, and clear and accurate labelling of Scottish produce is vital in achieving this. The FSS has been tasked with introducing proportionate and responsive regulation; this will be instrumental in ensuring that our world-renowned food and drink industry continues to build on its international reputation.”

Key provisions in the Food (Scotland) Bill include:

  • Establish Food Standards Scotland to take over the functions currently carried out in Scotland by the UK-wide Food Standards Agency (FSA).
  • Allow for the scope of the body’s functions to be widened beyond the FSA’s current remit.
  • Establish new enforcement arrangements.

Background

In June 2012 Scottish Ministers agreed to create a new food body for Scotland. The new body would carry out the functions presently delivered by the Food Standards Agency, which include food safety and standards, feed safety and standards, nutrition, food labelling, meat inspection policy and operational delivery.

A public consultation on creating the body was carried out between February and May 2013 which asked for suggestions to widen this group of functions further.

The responses were independently analysed and the Scottish Government has set out its conclusions in The Scottish Government’s Response to ‘A Healthier Scotland: Consultation on Creating a New Food Body’.