The consultation follows the UK government’s decision to reduce the scope of the UK-wide Food Standards Agency. Also an independent review in Scotland recommended the creation a new body for food safety, food standards, nutrition, food labelling and meat inspection.
The minister for public health Michael Matheson told the Scottish Parliament: “Our vision for Scotland’s new food body is that its primary focus will be consumer protection.
‘Bad eating habits’
“There is much at stake, as the food we eat is vital to making sure we live longer, healthier lives. Bad eating habits are the second major cause of ill health in Scotland after smoking. The new food body will be the basis for taking decisive action to improve diet and nutrition, just as we are making progress on reducing smoking and drinking.”
Matheson added that independent recommendations on how to improve the food safety regime should be in place by the summer. “In the longer term, the consultation will make sure that we have a robust regulatory regime for food in Scotland,” he said.
Meanwhile, former chief vet Professor Jim Scudamore has been asked to lead an expert group to consider lessons learned from the horsemeat scandal. The group have been asked recommend improvements in the food safety regime that can be made quickly, ahead of the creation of the new body.