Quote, unquote: Scotland's plans for stand-alone food watchdog
Scotland's plan for a food standards watchdog has been broadly welcomed although there are concerns over the impact on jobs and caution of what powers the new organisation will have.
"The changes in England removed significant capacity in the Food Standards Agency's nutrition and labelling functions for Scotland and needed to be addressed. A new body will allow a Scottish approach to be taken to tackle poor diet and food-borne diseases and should support our food and drink industry in growing its strong, international reputation for safe, quality food" - Scottish Public Health Minister Michael Matheson.
"The FSA Board respects the decision the Scottish Government has taken to propose a free-standing, independent FSA for Scotland. The FSA Board is particularly mindful that this decision will directly impact on almost 200 of our staff based in Scotland, for example in meat plants as well as those in the FSA's Aberdeen office, and will have an effect on how the rest of the organisation works. We will work closely with the Scottish government to ensure that the concerns of our staff are appropriately addressed. Until any alternative legislative amendments come into force, the FSA will continue to carry out its duties as at present. Food safety throughout the UK remains the FSA's number one priority" - Food Standards Agency chair Jeff Rooker.
"Our members are rightly concerned of any move that may weaken public protection and thereby damage the Scottish meat industry. We need to move away from the 'boom and bust' approach to regulation that has, in the past, resulted in serious outbreaks of food poisoning, such as the Wishaw ecoli outbreak. Any change to the delivery module of meat inspection in Scotland should ensure it is protecting the public, not serving industry, therefore we must ensure this is not used as a backdoor to privatisation. It is essential that the government works closely with our members to ensure the continued delivery of an effective meat hygiene inspection service in Scotland" - Dave Watson, Scottish organiser at UK trade union Unite.
"The consequences of poor food safety measures can be devastating and people want to know that the highest standards and controls are in place. We are pleased that this new Scottish body is intended to be transparent and consumer focused and we look forward to seeing the detailed proposals on how it will carry out its vital roles" - Marieke Dwarshuis, Director at consumer watchdog Consumer Focus Scotland.
"The new structure, as outlined by the Scottish Government, is very much a new dawn for our industry, offering everyone involved the chance to start again with fresh ambitions, fresh attitudes and a vision for continued development" - Alan McNaughton, president of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers.
"FDF welcomes the Scottish government's commitment to supporting the growth of the food and drink industry in Scotland and to helping to maintain consumer confidence in food through an independent, evidence-based regulator. Many of our members operate in an international context and we look forward to the consultation document to be published later this year to understand how the new Scottish Food Standards body will work with other agencies to deliver consistent, risk-based and proportionate regulation across the UK" - Melanie Leech, director general at the Food and Drink Federation.
Sectors: Baby food, Bakery, Canned food, Cereal, Chilled foods, Commodities & ingredients, Condiments, dressings & sauces, Confectionery, Dairy, Dried foods, Food safety, Fresh produce, Frozen, Health & wellness, Ice cream, Meat & poultry, Natural & organic, Private label, Retail, Seafood, Snacks, World foods
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