Food Law News - UK - 1997

31 August 1997: ADMINISTRATION - New Group to set up Food Standards Agency

MAFF Press Release (251/97), 31 August 1997

New Group to set up Food Standards Agency

The new Joint Food Safety and Standards Group (JFSSG) starts 1 September 1997 as part of the Government's commitment to setting up the Food Standards Agency.

The new group will bring together key MAFF and DH officials who are essential to laying the groundwork for the Agency's creation.

Food Safety Minister Jeff Rooker said:

"The JFSSG marks a new chapter in how food safety issues are handled from now on.

"Scientists at MAFF and the Department of Health do a great deal of good work to make sure that the food we buy is safe to eat; but the variety and breadth of that work needs to be co-ordinated and focused better. That is what this new Group will do.

"It is the precursor to having an accountable, independent Food Standards Agency. In the meantime, Tessa Jowell and I will leave no stone unturned in fulfilling our pledge to put consumers and food safety at the very top of our agenda."

Public Health Minister Tessa Jowell said:

"We are not prepared to compromise on public safety in relation to food.

"We have therefore taken immediate action to ensure the closest co-operation across Government in preparation for the Food Standards Agency."

Besides allowing for closer working on day-to-day food safety and standards issues, this arrangement confirms the co-operation between MAFF and DH in ensuring the best food standards for British consumers.

A White Paper setting out the Food Standards Agency is expected in the Autumn. Minister for Food Safety, Jeff Rooker and Minister for Public Health, Tessa Jowell share a joint role in preparing for the Agency and promoting food safety. The Chief Medical Officer takes on a high-level co-ordinating role in case of any food scares, and ensures that matters affecting human health are presented clearly and comprehensively to the public. JFSSG-related MAFF and DH officials will not be re-located, and will remain accountable to their respective Permanent Secretaries and Ministers. Agriculture Minister Jack Cunningham announced the JFSSG on 30 July 1997, reference MAFF news release 224/97

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