The Bill to create the new Food Standards Agency to protect the public and oversee food safety is published today.
The new Food Standards Agency is to be a publicly funded independent authority. The Government has responded to the views put forward in the public consultation and decided today not to place a levy on retailers and caterers.
The Bill to set up the FSA meets another Government commitment. The legislation
will be steered through Parliament by Agriculture Minister Nick Brown, who
"It is vital that people have confidence in food. The work of the Food Standards Agency will help to do that. My decision to scrap the levy shows that we have listened to people's concerns and have acted in their interests. This move will help small businesses by easing a potential burden - particularly small firms in rural areas. The Government has already acted in this vital area of public health. Much of the structure of the new Agency is already in place. Officials from MAFF and the Department of Health are working closely together to ensure high standards. Today's announcement is good news for consumers and will be welcome to business, particularly small firms in rural areas. It also demonstrates that public safety continues to be a Government priority."
Frank Dobson, Secretary of State for Health said:
"Food safety is one of the Government's top priorities. People must be able to have confidence in the safety of the food they and their families eat. We want to ensure that the safety of food is the number one consideration from farm to plate. That is why we are setting up the Food Standards Agency which will act as a safety watchdog as well as providing clear, accurate information so that people can make well informed decisions about the food they eat. Today's Bill is a landmark in the history of food safety."
Copies of the Food Standards Bill are available from the Stationery Office. The Bill follows three rounds of public consultation on the Government's proposals, most recently on the draft legislation (published on 27 January 1999). A summary of the response to public consultation on the draft Bill is available on MAFF's Website.
A brief guide to the Bill and a factsheet summarising the main changes that have been made to the Bill in the light of public consultation and the report of the Food Standards Committee is attached to this press release. The report of the Food Standards Committee was published by the Stationery Office on 31 March.