Cautious reaction to FSA shake-up

News of the reformation of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has been given a cautious welcome by some industry members.

The government announced this week that the FSA would retain a food safety role, but that responsibility for nutrition policy would go to the Department of Health (DoH), while country-of-origin labelling and other non-safety related food labelling issues would be handled by Defra.

Stephen Rossides, director of the British Meat Processors' Association, said: "We welcome the government's decision to sharpen the focus of the FSA on food safety issues." He said a strong focus on the subject was vital for consumer confidence.

Richard Griffiths, from the British Poultry Council, said: "We're looking forward to seeing what different effects the changes will have. Until we know the exact nature of the moves, we don't know if it will be a good thing or not. We would like to know where the science and research operations will sit, as that will have an effect on the work we're doing with the FSA on Campylobacter."

Norman Bagley, policy director with AIMS, said: "I have no problem with the FSA being retained as a food safety-focused operation, but in terms of delivery following comments by the vice-chair at the board meeting that there was 'still much further to go' they still have to demonstrate that they can deliver those savings before full cost recovery can go ahead."

The shake-up in responsibilities will only affect England, with nutrition and labelling duties being retained by the FSA within the devolved powers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.