Chair of the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) board Dame Deirdre Hutton will step down at the end of her four-year term next July.

Hutton said today (18 December) she felt it was time for a new chair to take the agency on to the "next stage of its development".

"I have been with the Agency for nearly half of its relatively short life, during which consumer confidence in the FSA as a regulator, and a source of trusted advice, has continued to rise," Hutton said.

Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for Health said the government was "very fortunate" in having Deirdre as the chair of the FSA.

"In the time she has been with the agency it has become even more trusted by consumers and respected by industry as an independent guardian of our food," he added. "We will be sorry to see her go and wish her every success for the future."