The Food Standards Agency today [Thursday] announced the appointment of members to its new Consumer Committee. The Committee will help to ensure that the Agency’s policy-making is open to a wide range of consumer interests and that its decisions are based on a full understanding of consumer needs and views.

The search to find suitable people for the Committee began in September last year. The Agency placed advertisements in the national press to find candidates with a strong interest in food issues, who understood the needs of the UK consumer, particularly those consumers from ethnic minorities or on low incomes.

Over 1,500 requests for information were taken by the Agency, with 400 completed applications finally received from candidates hoping to be part of the new Committee. With such a large number of applications, the Agency has been able to select six members for the Committee who bring with them a very wide range of experience. Between them the new members, whose ages range from mid 20s to in their 70s, have worked in areas such as health, catering and housing. A further six members, representing the six main consumer organisations in the UK complete the 12-member Committee.

The Committee’s role will be to:

  • alert the Agency to key issues of current or emerging consumer concern

  • comment on the Agency’s strategic objectives and forward plan

  • provide feedback on the effectiveness of its policies in responding to consumer concerns

  • advise on consumer consultation methodologies, including ways of reaching vulnerable and hard to reach groups

  • review the work of consumer representatives on advisory committees

  • facilitate joint-working between the Agency and consumer groups

  • offer advice on any other issues that may be referred to it by the Agency.

The new members are:

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Appointees from open competition:

  • Marvelle Brown, a nursing lecturer at Thames Valley University

  • Alison Childs, freelance event organiser and lecturer on food

  • Ann Frankel, a Tenancy Management Officer for a London-based Housing Association

  • John Godfrey, who belongs to UK and EU consumer groups with an interest in food policy

  • Isa Khan, a Director of the Bradford-based New Deal for Communities Trident Board

  • Nancy Robson, self-employed food critic and restaurant inspector for ‘Taste of Scotland’

Appointees nominated from Consumer Organisations:

  • Sue Dibb, a Senior Policy Officer at the National Consumer Council

  • Jeanette Longfield, the Co-ordinator of Sustain – the alliance for better food and farming

  • Graeme Millar, Chairman of the Scottish Consumer Council

  • Sam Miskelly, Assistant Director of the General Consumer Council of Northern Ireland

  • Mona Patel, a Senior Public Affairs Officer at the Consumers’ Association

A nominee from the Welsh Consumer Council will be announced separately.