The Agency is an independent body set up by the Government in response to widespread concern about food safety. It will operate at arms length from Ministers. Its Chairman, Sir John Krebs, has pledged that the public will receive prompt and accurate information and advice on food safety.
Ms Stuart said:
"The safety and quality of the food we eat matters to every single person in this country. It's as important as the air we breathe and the water we drink. And that is why I am delighted that, from today, everyone in the country will have access to the impartial information on food safety and standards that they deserve. Food safety is one of our top priorities. In setting up the Agency, we are determined that it should command people's confidence from the outset. Our overriding agenda must be to ensure that not only is food as safe as it possibly can be, but that it is seen to be so.
"The Agency will protect the interests of consumers by following three core values. It will put the consumer first, be open and accessible, and will be an independent voice. Its remit - as laid down by Act of Parliament - is to take an overall view of food safety across the whole of the industry, from farm to fork. Its paramount aim will be to protect public health, and to sustain public confidence that this is being done. It will set high standards of openness, transparency and consultation and will have the power to publish its advice, including the advice it gives to Government.
"It is vital that all parties - Government, health professionals, local authorities, academics, consumers and the industry - work together to ensure that the FSA is effective and efficient."