The Food Standards Act 1999, which provides the legal basis for the Agency, transfers responsibility for food safety and standards matters to Health Ministers and the Agency. The draft Transitional and Consequential Regulations are needed to complete that handover, by making the necessary follow-up amendments to secondary legislation in the food safety and standards area to take account of the Agency's new responsibilities. The regulations also make transitional provisions to ensure that existing documents relevant to food regulation remain effective when the Agency is set up.
Together, these technical changes will complete the transfer of responsibilities to the Agency that was first proposed in the Food Standards Agency White Paper, A Force for Change, published in January 1998.
Public consultation on the draft regulations ends on 2 March.
The full title of the draft regulations is The Food Standards Act 1999 (Transitional and Consequential Provisions and Savings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2000. The Transitional and Consequential Regulations are to be made under section 42 of The Food Standards Act 1999. Section 26 of the Act will remove most of the Agriculture Minister'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 Act is expected to be brought into force at the beginning of April, thereby establishing the Agency.