The implications of creating a new food standards body are to be investigated by the Health and Sport Committee as they undertake a visit to Aberdeen today (Monday 26 May).
MSPs on the Committee are currently scrutinising the Food (Scotland) Bill. The Bill, if passed, will give greater powers to the proposed new body than the current Food Standards Agency and also establish new enforcement arrangements.
Convener of the Committee Duncan McNeil MSP said:
“As a Committee it is important that we can get out of the Parliament and understand the implications of this legislation.
“Consumers and businesses from across Scotland will be impacted upon by the creation of a new food standards body but it seemed particularly relevant that our Committee visits Aberdeen.
“The Aberdeenshire area has a thriving fishing industry, the city itself has a strong background of research in nutrition and of course it is also home to the current Food Standards Agency.”
Deputy Convener of the Committee Bob Doris MSP said:
“Whilst on the face of it this proposed legislation may seem an administrative change, at the heart of this is something quite fundamental, ensuring the safety of the food that we eat.
"Scotland is world renowned for quality food and drink and this proposed bill can help underpin that reputation.
“As a Committee we look forward to speaking to a number of businesses, academics and of course the Food Standards Agency itself on the implications of this proposed legislation.”
As part of the Committee’s visit on Monday 26 May, MSPs will meet with:
· The Food Standards Agency in Scotland, which currently handles issues in Scotland involving: food standards, nutrition and diet; general food hygiene, fish, shellfish and milk hygiene; hygiene controls on meat and meat products; regulation of animal feeding stuffs and novel foods, radiological safety and emergencies.
· The Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen which plays a major role in the UK research capability in nutrition and human health and through the years has also made a significant impact on animal health and nutrition.
· Professor Hugh Pennington, the leading authority on food hygiene and standards.
· Joseph Robertson (Aberdeen) Ltd, an Aberdeen-based food business which utilises mainly local catch for processing into a range of seafood products.
· Community Food Initiatives North East, a charity and social enterprise providing affordable, good quality healthy produce to thousands in and around Aberdeen. It supports and improves health and wellbeing, contributes to community regeneration, increases employability, creates employment in and with disadvantaged and vulnerable individuals and communities and promotes action to improve the environment.