Government denies Food Standards Agency purge
Published:  12 July, 2010

The Department of Health has denied reports that it is to scrap the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

"No decision has been taken over the Food Standards Agency (FSA)," said the department in a mid-afternoon statement. "All Arms Length Bodies will be subject to a review."

The much-touted end to the organisation was expected to be announced by health secretary Andrew Lansley amidst a swathe of health reforms.

Although a White Paper was launched, there was no mention of disbanding the FSA - or of any food policy.

Nutrition policy is expected to be subsumed into the Department of Health. A spokesperson for the FSA commented: "Andrew Lansley indicated before the election that he planned to move nutritional policy work to the Department of Health. The rest is speculation."

There had been expectation that other activities undertaken by the agency, such as the recently incorporated Meat Hygiene Service, would be transferred to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Andrew Burnham, Labour health secretary, said: "Getting rid of the FSA is the latest in a number of worrying steps that show Andrew Lansley caving in to the food industry. It does raise the question whether the health secretary wants to protect the public or promote food companies."

Last month the European Parliament voted against a key pillar of FSA activity, a traffic light scheme requiring food companies to label their products red, amber or green according to how much fat, sugar and salt were contained in servings.

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