FSA makes appointments to Science Council

Eight members have been appointed to the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Science Council, including the council’s new chair.

The team has been designed to offer a high level of experts and independent advice and support the FSA on using science to underpin its work.

The council is to be chaired by Professor Sandy Thomas. Bringing with her extensive experience leading, convening and generating cross-disiplinary analysis and strategic science to inform policy, Thomas is already director of the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition and an honorary professor at the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex. She was previously head of the government’s Foresight Programme between 2007 and 2015.

“Science is at the heart of the FSA’s work to protect public health and for people to have food they can trust,” explained Heather Hancock, FSA chair. “We have created our new Science Council to be confident that we are using robust and rigorois science to identify emerging risk, to find the right solutions to public health concerns, and so that our future priorities in food safety and standards are informed by the best science available.

“I am delighted that Sandy Thomas has agreed to chair the council, bringing her outstanding track record in foresight and science strategy, and that she will be joined by such distinguished colleagues with national and international standing.”

Joining Thomas on the board are: Professor Laura Green, Professor John O’Brien, Professor Sarah O’Brien, Mark Rolfe - who has been appointed to the role of bringing public thoughts and perspectives to the discussion, Dr Paul Turner, Professor Patrick Wolfe and Professor Mark Woolhouse.

“I look forward to working with this highly talented group,” commented Professor Guy Poppy, chief scientific adviser at the FSA. “They bring a wealth of expertise, experience and wider networks across a wider range of fields.

“They will help me as FSA’s CSA to ensure we identify opportunities to use leading-edge science and forge new partnerships to develop and inform FSA’s work. They will also be an invaluable critical friend, challenging me and the FSA where neceessary on how we ensure FSA’s science remains vibrant and robust, thus helping ensure people have food they can trust.”

Thomas explained that she is looking forward to starting her role as chair for the committee. “The UK a world leader in its open approach to using science and evidence to improve and assure food safety throughout the food system. Working alongside Professor Guy Poppy, I am confident that the new council will be well placed to provide high quality advice to inform the FSA’s work.”

The Science Council will come into action on 1 April and will take over from the FSA’s General Advisory Committee on Science, which will formally be dissolved as of 31 March.

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