‘FSA to be abolished’ claim
The UK coalition government is to abolish the Food Standards Agency – the food watchdog set up to protect consumers after the ‘mad cow’ disease crisis – and reassign its duties elsewhere, according to government sources. However, a Department of Health spokesman insists no decision had yet been made on the future of the FSA.
If the watchdog is scrapped, however, the cost-saving move will fulfil a pre-election pledge by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to strip the Food Standards Agency (FSA) of its responsibilities for nutrition and diet advice.
But it is also likely to fuel criticism that Lansley is giving way to the food industry. The rumoured demise of the FSA has been strongly criticised by both the FDF and IFST.
The agency currently employs 2,000 staff and spends £135 million (€161m) pounds a year. It’s also in charge of safety and hygiene in the food chain. If it is scrapped, those duties will reportedly be devolved to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).