Today, Food Standards Scotland (FSS) will take over responsibilities associated with regulating the country’s food safety. Previously, such tasks fell under the authority of the Food Standards Agency. The legislation needed to initiate this leadership change was passed in December.
"We now have a new food body that is uniquely placed to focus on our own particular needs and priorities,” says Maureen Watt, Scotland’s public health minister. "Food Standards Scotland will be a trusted source of food safety advice and nutritional guidance."
The FSS will have a number of priorities:
- Ensure consumer protection by making sure that Scotland’s food is completely safe to eat
- Keep consumers informed and educate them about the foods they choose to consume (A YouGov poll shows that Scotish citizens are concerned about food authenticity and food safety)
- Provide food safety policy advice
- Enforce food regulations
Which?, a consumer advocacy group, has already asked FSS to hone in on food fraud, reducing food poisoning rates and improving food law enforcement. Richard Lloyd, the group’s executive director, says, "It's vital that the new food agency tackles the challenges facing Scotland, including obesity rates, food poisoning and food fraud, putting the interests of Scottish consumers at its heart."
FSS is operated by a staff of 160 individuals based at a new facility in Aberdeen.