Alan Milburn, Secretary of State for Health, joined Nick Brown in welcoming the new Act and said:
'I look forward to my new responsibilities for food safety and standards and to working with the Agency and its staff. I hope to announce the names of the Agency's Chairman and deputy Chairman by the end of the year.'
The proposals to set up a Food Standards Agency have been the subject of extensive consultation, starting in May 1997 with the issue of the James report (The Food Standards Agency - An Interim Proposal), followed by the White Paper ( The Food Standards Agency: A Force for Change) in January 1998 and the draft Food Standards Bill in January 1999. The draft Bill was also the subject of pre-legislative scrutiny by a Select Committee, whose report was published in March 1999.
The Food Standards Agency will be a UK body accountable to Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly. It will operate at arm's length from Ministers under the day to day responsibility of a Chairman, deputy Chairman and members. The process for making appointments to these posts has been in accordance with Nolan principles. Interviews for Chairman and deputy Chairman were held in September and are now being held for the remaining members. The names of other members of the Agency will be announced by the end of the year.
The Agency is likely to become operational in Spring 2000.