Headlines: February 1st, 1999

New legislation that will radically redefine the way work on food safety is
handled in Britain has been published.

The draft bill to set up an independent agency to protect standards
throughout the food chain is now available for public consultation.

The draft legislation establishes a Food Standards Agency which will be
funded by a levy on food retailers and caterers as well as from the public

Agriculture Minister Nick Brown said: “The agency will be a responsible,
open and authoritative body in Government, charged with protecting public
health in relation to food, with powers to act throughout the food chain.

“The agency will work with all parties to develop soundly based, balanced
policies that command public confidence. It will advise consumers,
Parliament, Ministers, the new legislatures in Scotland, Wales and Northern
Ireland, and the whole food industry on all aspects of food safety and

The financing proposals are for annual levy of 90 pounds a year for all retail
and catering premises, to meet the additional costs associated with the new
agency. Most of the agency’s functions will continue to be funded from
public expenditure.

The consultation period ends on 24 March.