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Scotland’s Food Standards Body Gets Union Welcome

NFU Scotland has welcomed the launch of Scotland’s own food standards body from today (April 1 2015).

Food Standards Scotland (FSS), under the chairmanship of former Scottish Rural Affairs Minister Ross Finnie, will take over the activity of the Food Standards Agency in Scotland as well as taking control of food labelling from DEFRA and food nutrition from the Department of Health.

It is expected that FSS will continue to work closely with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and a memoranda of understanding exists between the two agencies to recognise their shared remit and common purpose.

As part of its mission statement, FSS has given food traceability, authenticity and labelling greater focus.  That has been welcomed by farmers and food suppliers in Scotland, who have long strived to maintain assurance standards which allow consumers to have the utmost confidence in Scottish produce.

NFU Scotland will also be a permanent member of FSS’s Food Enforcement Liaison Committee, where local authorities and other stakeholders will discuss the enforcement activities of FSS on the ground.

Commenting on the launch of FSS, NFU Scotland President Allan Bowie said: “The best way to underpin the sustainable development of Scotland’s food and drink industry is to ensure that all consumers continue to feel reassured that the food and drink produced in this country is as safe, tasty and nutritious as it can possibly be.

 “And, when it comes to supporting tasty Scottish produce, consumers must be able to clearly identify our goods at the counter or on the shop shelf, and its focus on labelling and traceability is valued.

“FSS has an opportunity to build on the many positive messages that surround our food, drink and farming. It has the potential to be an independent, transparent and accessible body which takes all the right decisions for these important sectors.

“Throughout the whole process, we have supported the need for a stand-alone food body, with responsibility for food safety, standards and nutrition in Scotland as the best way to respond to the unique issues in relation to diet, obesity and food-borne diseases in this country. We believe that FSS will have the flexibility to respond to and target resources towards key issues in Scotland, recognising that these may differ from other parts of the UK.

 “A good example of that is in our important meat sector, where the delivery of Official Controls including the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) will be better carried out by a Scottish food body as it will deliver a more streamlined service that is cost effective and suited to the Scottish industry.

“We also expect FSS to facilitate closer working amongst the considerable scientific expertise which exists within Scotland and allow the development of science based, Scotland-specific policy priorities for the food industry.

“Red tape and bureaucracy remains a blight on the food and farming sectors.  The continuation of the Food Enforcement Liaison Committee within FSS, which will engage with Local Authorities, may help strip out unnecessary red tape, remove duplication of enforcement or inspection efforts and reduce the financial and time burdens on farming and food businesses.”

Notes to Editors

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006
 

Date Published:

News Article No.: 58/15


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