Around 360 responses have been received so far, representing a wide selection of people and organisations with an interest in food safety and standards. Work has now started on the draft Bill setting out the detailed legislative powers of the new Agency. The draft Bill will be published for a further round of public consultation before being put to Parliament.
Visiting the Food and Drink Expo '98 at the NEC in Birmingham, Food Safety Minister Jeff Rooker was keen to hear any last minute views before the current round of consultation ended.
"Every exhibitor here, and every food producer in Britain, will be affected by the creation of a new Food Standards Agency. We have been keen to get as many views as possible, representing consumers, manufacturers, caterers, farmers, food scientists, health professionals, enforcement authorities and anyone involved in producing food - whether that food is a boiled sweet or cordon bleu cooking in the most expensive restaurants.
"My visit today has given me another opportunity, before this phase of consultation closes, to listen to people, and explain the Government's proposals. The public will have a further chance to comment when a detailed draft bill is published in the summer. Provided Parliament approves, the Government hopes to have the Food Standards Agency up and running by late 1999.