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Holyrood committee backs Food Standards Bill
The bill to create a standalone food standards body in Scotland has won the backing of Holyrood's Health & Sport Committee.
In their stage 1 report on the Food (Scotland) Bill, the MSPs agree that replacing the current Food Standards Agency in Scotland with the new body, Food Standards Scotland, which would have a role in diet and nutrition policy in addition to regulating food safety, would be a positive step forward.
However they call for greater detail on its proposed research functions and how these will relate to UK-funded research bodies. The report also highlights significant opportunities for the new body to gain from European funding streams, and the committee has requested more detail in relation to how these can be exploited.
The new agency will also have the ability to apply administrative sanctions, including issuing fixed penalty notices, on those who commit an offence related to Scotland’s food law. Whilst supportive of the principle, the committee calls on the Scottish Government to consider establishing an appeals process for the new sanctions.
Committee convener Duncan McNeil MSP said: “Scotland’s food and drink industry has gained an international reputation for quality, so the creation of this body will have a vital role in ensuring that consumers have trust in the safety of the food they eat.
“The proposed legislation will also give the new organisation greater power to administer sanctions to those breaking Scotland’s food law which will ultimately provide reassurance to consumers.”
Deputy convener Bob Doris MSP added: “Whilst this bill may seem like an administrative change, in fact what is being proposed is a new body which will not only be responsible for food safety but also diet and nutrition.
“It was clear that all these issues are extremely important in safeguarding the health and wellbeing of the people of Scotland and protecting the reputation of Scotland’s food and drink industry. Our committee agrees that the creation of this new body will be a positive step forward.”
Click here to view the committee's report.