Horsemeat scandal: new powers in food safety body bill

Extra measures have been included in legislation setting up a new food safety body for Scotland as a result of the horsemeat scandal, the Scottish Government said.

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Food Standards Scotland - which will replace the UK Food Standards Agency - will be given specific powers to seize food that does not meet labelling rules.

Public health minister Michael Matheson said such measures would help reassure consumers.

He stated: "While Scottish businesses were not responsible for last year's horsemeat scandal, we have included extra measures in the Bill so consumers can be even more assured that targeting fraudulent behaviour throughout the food supply chain remains a high priority for us in the future."

Mr Matheson spoke out as the legislation to establish Food Standards Scotland (FSS) was published.

The Food (Scotland) Bill sets the objectives for the new body, which will be tasked with ensuring food in Scotland continues to be safe to eat.

It will also advise ministers on how to improve Scots' diet and nutrition, support food and drink policy and be an effective regulator for the industry.

The Scottish Government also hopes the new body will be more efficient and more responsive to circumstances north of the border.

"Scotland's new food safety body will be uniquely placed to focus on Scottish priorities and the Bill published today outlines what we will be expecting FSS to achieve," Mr Matheson said.

"The body will be given specific enforcement powers to seize food that does not meet food standards or labelling rules, and it will also be compulsory to report non-compliance with food standards regulations, which cover food fraud.

"FSS will also be tasked with advising on how we improve people's diet and nutrition - playing a key role in progressing our vision of a healthier Scotland.

"We hope the body will be a trusted source of food safety advice to the Government, led from within Scotland and with the confidence and ambition to ensure Scottish food continues to be safe and healthy to eat."

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said the new body would have a key role in Scotland's "world-renowned" food and drink industry.

He said: "It is a key aim of this Government to support the growth of the Scottish food and drink industry, which is known the world over for its safety, high quality and impeccable provenance.

"Consumers at home and abroad must be able to trust what they are eating and clear and accurate labelling of Scottish produce is vital in achieving this.

"The FSS has been tasked with introducing proportionate and responsive regulation, this will be instrumental in ensuring that our world-renowned food and drink industry continues to build on its international reputation."

Food and drink

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