A consultation on the roles, responsibilities and functions of Scotland’s new food safety body was announced on February 28.
Following the UK Government’s decision to reduce the scope of the UK-wide Food Standards Agency, an independent review panel was convened in Scotland which recommends that a new body for food safety, food standards, nutrition, food labelling and meat inspection be created in Scotland.
The consultation is an opportunity for consumers, and industry, to tell the Scottish Government what they think the new food body should do, and how food safety and standards should be addressed in the future.
In addition, former Chief Vet Professor, Jim Scudamore has been asked to lead an expert group to consider lessons learned from recent incidents. The group have been asked recommend improvements in the food safety regime that can be made quickly, ahead of the creation of the new body.
Speaking in Parliament, Mr Matheson said, “Our vision for Scotland’s new food body is that its primary focus will be consumer protection. There is much at stake, as the food we eat is vital to making sure we live longer, healthier lives. Bad eating habits are the second major cause of ill health in Scotland after smoking.”
“The new food body will be the basis for taking decisive action to improve diet and nutrition, just as we are making progress on reducing smoking and drinking.
Matheson also commented that, “we want our new food body to be as effective as possible, and through this consultation we are making sure that we are drawing on the best ideas and expertise when designing a new body.”
“By the summer, we should have independent recommendations on how to improve the food safety regime. In the longer term, the consultation will make sure that we have a robust regulatory regime for food in Scotland.”