Food Law News - UK - 2006

FSA News Item, 3 July 2006

WINE - Wine Standards Board merges with FSA

The Wine Standards Board (WSB), the non-Governmental body responsible for wine-making practices, labelling of wine and the UK vineyard register, merged with the Agency on 1 July.

The merger was one of the recommendations of the Hampton Review, published in March 2005, which aimed to simplify enforcement activity in England and reduce the number of enforcement bodies.

The move involved the transfer of ten WSB staff to the Agency and will result in the FSA taking over responsibility for enforcing the EU wine regime in the UK .

Minister for Sustainable Farming and Food at the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Jeff Rooker, said: ‘I welcome this merger because it will help to reduce the burden on the wine industry through greater use of risk-based and targeted inspections, which in turn will bring benefits for consumers too.

‘I am pleased that officials in DEFRA, the FSA and WSB have been able to work closely to implement Philip Hampton's recommendation quickly.'

Deirdre Hutton, Chair of the Food Standards Agency said: ‘This is good news for the WSB and for us. We are delighted to welcome the team here and we will be working hard to exploit synergies between us. In particular, we are looking forward to expanding our expertise and sharing our experience on sampling and verifying the authenticity and composition of wines in order to protect consumers in this very important market.'

Following the merger, DEFRA will retain policy responsibility for all other aspects of the Common Agricultural Policy wine regime and for industry sponsorship.

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