The draft Bill to set up an independent Agency with wide-ranging powers to act to protect food standards throughout the food chain is now available for public consultation. The public have a chance to comment on the detailed text of legislation establishing the Food Standards Agency; and on proposals for a levy on food retailers and caterers to fund the additional costs of setting up the new body. Agriculture Minister Nick Brown and Health Secretary Frank Dobson were both present to launch the consultation on the draft Bill.
Mr Brown said:
"This Government promised to set up a new independent Food Standards Agency with one overriding remit - to protect public health and raise safety standards across the industry. The Agency will be a responsible, open and authoritative body in Government, charged with protecting public health in relation to food, with powers to act throughout the food chain.
"The Agency will work with all parties to develop soundly based, balanced policies that command public confidence. It will advise consumers, Parliament, Ministers, the new legislatures in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the whole food industry on all aspects of food safety and standards.
"We are consulting separately on proposals for a levy to help fund the Agency. The food industry is being asked to fund the extra costs of setting up the Agency, but most of the cost of protecting food safety will continue to be met from public funds."
Frank Dobson, Secretary of State for Health said:
"The publication of today's draft Bill is another important step along the road to establishing the Food Standards Agency. This new, independent agency is good news for consumers. It will separate the different - and potentially conflicting - interests of food producers and food consumers. It will also bring food safety and standards under one roof, so that consumers and food businesses know where to turn for advice."
The financing proposals are for annual levy of £90 a year for all retail and catering premises, to meet the additional costs associated with the new Agency. Most of the Agency's functions will continue to be funded from public expenditure.
The consultation period ends on 24 March.
Two consultation documents were published: the draft Food Standards Bill, and a consultation document on the Government's proposals to fund some of the costs of the Agency from a levy on food premises. The Food Standards Bill was drawn up in the light of consultation on the Food Standards Agency White Paper, which was published on January 14, 1998. The White Paper followed earlier consultation on the James Report, published in May 1997. The Government will introduce the Bill as soon as legislative time permits, and if possible during the present session of Parliament. Copies of the draft Bill can be obtained from The Stationery Office on
For more details and links to relevant Government pages, go to the Food Standards Agency page on this site.