The proposed Code of Practice sets out the policy on one of the Agency's core values - openness - and describes in general terms how the Agency is going to implement it. The draft statement on risk is a broad description of how the Agency intends to deal with risks from the time they emerge, to the decision-making and enforcement stages. Both documents are also intended as a guide to what individuals and organisations can expect from the Agency.
Launching the UK-wide consultation, Agency Chairman Sir John Krebs said: "These two documents will greatly influence the way in which the Food Standards Agency operates. This is why it is important for us to know what stakeholders and the general public think about them.
"The Code of Practice on Openness, and the statement on our approach to risk, are among a number of new policy statements and procedures. Right from the start, we have been committed to consulting on them. Our aim is to get the views of as wide a range of people and organisations as possible. We hope that this will help foster trust in the way the Agency works.
"To promote debate, we are launching a message board on our website about risk and openness. This is a new way of communicating with anyone who is interested in our policies. It will allow groups and individuals to have a real dialogue on the issues at stake."
The Code of Practice makes disclosure and publication of advice and information the norm. In line with this principle, information will only be withheld when strictly necessary. The Code of Practice lists the various legal constraints on publication.
Section 23 (2) of the Food Standards Act 1999 lays down a series of factors that the Agency has to consider when it makes decisions. Broadly-speaking, these are:
The draft statement on the Agency's approach to risk reflects these requirements.