Food Standards Agency

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) was established on 1 April 2000 by the Food Standards Act 1999. It followed the publication of the white paper The Food Standards Agency: a force for change.

The white paper suggested that food law enforcement had been the subject of controversy. There was a need to demonstrate to members of the public that the effectiveness of control on food was not undermined by overlaps, conflicting objectives or incoherence.

In response to such concerns, the government set out its proposals for establishing a Food Standards Agency, which would promote high standards throughout the food chain, from the point of production to the point of consumption.

The Food Standards Act 1999 set out that the FSA's main objectives were to protect the public's health in relation to food. It gave the agency broad powers to act in the interest of consumers at any stage of the food production and supply chain process.

The FSA is free to publish any advice that it wishes and does not report to a specific minister (although the FSA is accountable to Parliament through health ministers).

In 2010, it was announced that the Department of Health would become responsible for nutrition policy in England. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs would become responsible for Country of Origin labelling and other non-safety related food labelling issues. This left the FSA to focus on its core remit of food safety in England.

Source(s)

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
The Food Standards Agency: A force for change.
GOV.UK; 1998.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Food Standards Agency to keep crucial safety role.
GOV.UK; 2010.