Halal supplier slams FSA appointment

A leading Halal meat supplier has hit out at the appointment of Lord Rooker to the chair of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) as “jobs for the boys”, and called for Muslim representation within quangos.

Naved Syed, MD of Janan Meats, said he was encouraged to apply for the role of chairman of the FSA and has been left disappointed by the Rooker appointment.

Syed said he got support from two high-ranking members from the industry and was told he made the last five, but without an offer of an interview. He said: “My argument is why are there no Muslims on the boards of the FSA and EBLEX, when Muslims consume 25% of red meat in this country?

“Gordon Brown is always going on about engaging with Muslims, but where are the opportunities to participate?”

Rooker was confirmed as the new chair of the FSA after a tight vote by the Health Select Committee (HSC).

Rooker was voted by a narrow majority of just three to two by the HSC after the Health Secretary recommend the peer for the position.

FSA chief executive Tim Smith said: “I am delighted that Lord Rooker will be joining us in this role and, personally, I very much look forward to working with him. His political experience and understanding of food issues make him an excellent choice for this challenging position.”

Lord Rooker was involved in setting up the FSA at the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food in 2000 and, since stepping down as a government minister in October, he served a short stint as president of the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers.

He said: “It is a privilege to lead the FSA and I commit to continuing its ethos of openness, transparency, reliance upon science and putting consumers first.”

Health secretary Andy Burnham said he was delighted with the appointment and added that Lord Rooker would bring considerable experience and expertise to the role.

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