A Healthier Scotland: Consultation on Creating a New Food Body

Scottish Ministers have agreed to create a new food safety body for Scotland. This consultation on the role of the new body is an opportunity for consumers and industry to tell the Scottish Government what they think about what the new food body should do, and how food safety and standards should be addressed in Scotland in the future.

3. Scope of the new food body

15. The FSA was established in 2000 as a UK-wide non-Ministerial Government Department with a wide remit. It has statutory responsibility for protecting public health from risks that may arise in connection with the consumption of food, and otherwise to protect the interests of consumers in all matters connected with food. It is responsible for the development and implementation of policy relating to food and animal feed safety and standards. Its responsibilities in Scotland also include the provision of transparent and independent advice in the fields of food and feed safety, nutrition, labelling and standards.

16. It is also the UK central competent authority for the delivery of most official controls[4] in relation to food and feed, including inspection and enforcement at food and feed establishments. The FSA has direct responsibility for the delivery of official controls in approved fresh meat establishments across Great Britain, and for delivery of dairy hygiene controls in England and Wales. Scottish Government delivers food and feed official controls on some farms, on behalf of FSA, whilst undertaking cross compliance inspections, with local authorities undertaking all other food & feed farm inspections. Official controls at other food and feed establishments, and at ports, are also delivered by local authorities.

17. Food and feed safety and standards are devolved matters and legislation relevant to Scotland is determined by the Scottish Parliament. The FSA in Scotland (FSAS) provides advice to Scottish Ministers, and is accountable to the Scottish Parliament through Health Ministers.

18. The FSA's remit in relation to food and feed regulation has interfaces with a very wide range of related policy areas, including public health, environmental regulation, animal health and animal welfare. It also has links with wider aspects of law enforcement, emergency planning and both domestic and international trade.

19. Scottish Ministers are open to innovative ideas that will increase the efficiency or effectiveness of the new food body. These could involve an extension of the scope of the body beyond that currently covered by the FSAS. The intention to bring forward primary legislation to create the new food body in Scotland means that this is the right time to consider such opportunities.

20. It has been suggested that the new food body could widen its scope to encompass public health generally, for example by introducing more health based schemes to tackle problems like alcohol or obesity, tracking and measuring food poverty, or enhancing consumer information such as advising on health claims in food advertisements. Other suggestions are that its scope could include considerations of environment, provenance, sustainability or food security.

Question 1: Should the scope of the new food body extend beyond the current scope of the FSA in Scotland? If yes, what specific extensions of scope would you suggest, and why?

21. Please note that before taking any suggestions for potential extensions of scope further, we would need to discuss them with all who would be affected, and explore considerations of employment, practicability, cost and legislation.


Email: Morris Fraser

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