This paves the way for the Food Standards Agency to be formally established from 1 April 2000, when the Order comes into force. The Agency's first working day will be Monday 3 April 2000.
Ms Stuart has also approved and laid before Parliament regulations enabling the Agency to take on a range of functions under food safety legislation. These Transitional and Consequential Regulations were recently issued for public consultation. They are needed to complete the hand-over of food safety and standards responsibilities to the Agency, and will make the necessary changes to secondary legislation .
The Commencement Order formally establishes the Food Standards Agency with its functions and powers, by bringing into force, on 1 April, those provisions of the Food Standards Act 1999 that are not already in force. An earlier Commencement Order, signed on 11 January 2000, brough into force the appointments provisions of the Act. This allowed for the appointment of the Chairman and other senior posts and enabled consultation to take place on the Transitional and Consequential Regulations.
Public consultation on the draft Transitional and Consequential Regulations ended on 2 March. Sixteen organisations responded to the consultation paper generally expressing support for the proposed changes. The regulations have not been amended as a result of the comments received. Separate consultation has taken place on parallel regulations in Scotland and Northern Ireland, which are due to be brought into force at the same time as the regulations for England and Wales.
The full title of the regulations is The Food Standards Act 1999 (Transitional and Consequential Provisions and Savings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2000. They have been made under section 42 of the Food Standards Act 1999. Section 26 of that Act removes most of the Agriculture Ministers's functions in relation to food safety and standards. Changes are therefore necessary to secondary legislation to transfer the relevant functions to the Agency.
The Board of the Food Standards Agency comprises 14 members, including the Chairman, his Deputy, and members from Wales (1), Scotland (2), and Northern Ireland (1). The final eight members were announced on 2 March.