Health minister announces MHS changes

Minister for Public Health Gillian Merron has formally announced that the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) will be dissolved and brought into a new Food Standards Agency (FSA) Operations Group.

In a statement in the House of Commons yesterday (Wednesday), the Health Department minister announced the changes will come into effect next month.

Merron said: All of the FSAs operational delivery functions, including those of the MHS, will be merged together in a single Operations Group to derive a wide range of benefits.

She added: Health and Rural Affairs Ministers in England and Wales have indicated their support for the FSA Boards decision. Ministers in Scotland noted the decision. In line with the process set out in Cabinet Office guidance, formal approval to dissolution of the executive agency status of the MHS has been granted by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the Minister for the Cabinet Office. The MHS will be merged into the FSA on 1 April 2010.

The dissolution of the MHS will not create a risk to public health and animal health and welfare. All existing regulatory functions undertaken by MHS operational staff in approved meat premises will continue to be undertaken by the same staff in the same way post-merger. Creation of the FSA Operations Group will increase the effectiveness of the FSA as a regulator in the longer-term and reduce risk. Savings of approximately 2m will be generated through the merger.

>>FSA to bring MHS inhouse

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