Obesity expert Susan Jebb is preferred choice as FSA chair

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

Jebb: 'My aim is to champion science'
Jebb: 'My aim is to champion science'

Related tags: Regulation, Food safety

The Government's preferred candidate for chair of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has been named as Susan Jebb, professor of diet and population health at the University of Oxford.

Jebb will take over the role from interim chair Ruth Hussey, who will return to her deputy chair role. Hussey, in turn was announced as interim chair in January this year following Heather Hancock's departure.

As chair Jebb would be responsible for working with the FSA board and the chief executive to set the FSA’s strategic direction and oversee the agency’s programmes of work, it said in a statement​.

She is one of the country’s leading scientists, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. Her recent research has focused on the treatment of obesity and interventions to encourage healthy and sustainable diets.

Adviser for Foresight report on obesity and National Food Strategy

She was the science adviser to the Government Office for Science Foresight report on obesity in 2007 and is currently an advisor to the National Food Strategy.

She has previously chaired the cross-government expert advisory group on obesity (2007–2011) and the Department of Health responsibility deal food network (2011–2015). She has also chaired public health advisory committees for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2013-2018).

She plans to continue with a part-time appointment at the University of Oxford alongside her FSA role.

'Important time for food system'

"This is an important time for our food system, and I am looking forward to building on the trust that Government has placed in the FSA to play a full and active role in the challenges which lie ahead,"​ said Jebb.

"Most importantly I want to ensure that the department continues to be highly effective in protecting public health and delivering its mission of ‘food we can trust’.

"My aim is to champion science and transparent, evidence-based decision making, while ensuring the consumer perspective is central to everything we do. I want to strengthen our relationships across Government and with the devolved countries, so that together we can maintain the confidence in our food standards among consumers and our trading partners."

Before the appointment is confirmed, Matt Hancock, secretary of state for health and social care, is expected to hold a public pre-appointment scrutiny hearing in line with parliamentary procedures in early May.

Related topics: People & Skills, Obesity

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