Blog: Dean BestFSA changes? Pretty much as expected

Dean Best | 22 July 2010

In the end, the UK coalition government's decision on the future of the Food Standards Agency was pretty much as expected.

The Government's move to take policy over nutrition and labelling and transfer responsibility for those areas to the Department of Health and the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs had been, at least in part, indicated before the General Election.

In its Green Paper, A Healthier Nation, published before the election, the Conservative Party mooted the idea of moving some of the FSA's functions to government departments.

Specifically, it said: "We will put parts of the Food Standards Agency which are responsible for the nutritional content of food and a slimmed down Health Protection Agency into the Department of Public Health so that public health strategies are consistent."

Nutrition has indeed moved to the DoH and the coalition has also transferred responsibility for country-of-origin labelling - among other things - to Defra. (The full breakdown of the Government's plans is here).

The FSA - contrary to some rather shrill reports last week in both the business pages and in parts of the trade - will not be abolished but remain responsible for food safety.

The Government's moves have been broadly welcomed by the industry, although some, including the British Retail Consortium are keen to hear what will happen in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, where for now at least, the FSA remains in charge of nutrition and labelling policy.


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