Shepherd and Wedderburn

UK 200 2013 position: 71

Food (Scotland) Bill: first course completed

The Holyrood Health & Sport Committee has now reported (21 August) on this bill, which seeks to set up the new agency Food Standards Scotland (FSS) as an autonomous body shadowing the functions and policies of the UK Food Standards Agency, but adapted to the individual characteristics of the Scottish food and drink market. FSS is largely the result of the findings of the Scudamore Report of 2012, but some of the evidence before the Holyrood committee revealed interesting and divergent approaches to the issues.

The Scottish Retail Consortium opposes its creation, citing duplication of effort and approach in what is a unified UK market. (Note: the FSS is not connected with the outcome — either way — of the referendum on Scottish independence on 18 September. Its stance is based on what it sees as commercial reality and on the implications for its members working throughout the UK.)

Some believed that the FSS should have a greater promotional role, but not surprisingly this was felt to conflict, at least potentially, with its clear regulatory remit and was rejected…

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