Food Standards Scotland launched, as poll reveals concerns

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Food safety on a plate. Pictured: Ross Finnie, Maureen Watt and Geoff Ogle
Food safety on a plate. Pictured: Ross Finnie, Maureen Watt and Geoff Ogle

Related tags: Food safety, Nutrition

Food Standards Scotland (FSS), the new public sector food body for Scotland, was launched yesterday (April 1), as a new poll identified Scotland’s top food concerns.

The FSS was established to provide independent information and advice on food safety and standards, nutrition and labelling to consumers in Scotland.

The new organisation has taken over responsibilities previously carried out in Scotland by the Food Standards Agency, with “an increased role in regards to healthy eating”, ​it said.

Scottish consumers’ top concern about food – aside from its cost – was ensuring good family nutrition, according to a new YouGov poll. More than a third (39%) of those surveyed identified achieving a healthy, balanced diet as their biggest worry.

Top concern about food

The second biggest concern was food authenticity, or eating food of unknown origin and provenance, that was identified by 27% of respondents and concern over food safety identified by 23%.

Widespread confusion over food labelling was also revealed by the survey. Lack of clear information made making informed food choices difficult, claimed 38% of Scots.

A quarter also said they did not have the clear information they needed to cook food safely and hygienically.

A further 23% said they lacked the information needed to make an informed choice when it comes to eating a healthy diet.

Food safety and nutrition

Scots' food fears

  • 39%: achieving balanced family diet
  • 38%: labelling confusion
  • 27%: food authenticity
  • 23% food safety
  • 23% lack of information to make healthy choices   

Meanwhile, 85% of Scots felt it important to have an organisation tasked with protecting the interests of Scottish consumers when it comes to food safety and nutrition.

FSS chief executive Geoff Ogle pledged the new organisation would answer those concerns. “Our focus will be on making decisions based on the food safety, labelling and nutrition issues that affect the Scottish public most directly,”​ he said.

Minister for public health, Maureen Watt, said the new body was uniquely placed to focus on Scotland’s particular needs and priorities. The organisation would become a trusted source of food safety advice and nutritional guidance, she added.

The new chair of FSS Ross Finnie said: “The YouGov poll gives a clear steer from the people of Scotland as to what their concerns and priorities are when it comes to food matters. Our remit is to represent the consumer’s interests on food matters by working with consumers, local authorities and other stakeholders, business and industry to address those concerns, and I and the new Board relish the challenge.”

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