What is the Food Standards Agency?
The Food Standards Agency is a department of government of the United Kingdom, responsible for protecting public health through the administration of various provisions. It is aimed at ensuring the delivery and consumption of suitable and edible foods.
Organization of the Food Standards Agency
The Food Standards Agency is a classified as a non-ministerial government department, meaning it is not headed by a secretary or minister. Instead, the Food Standards Agency is run by an appointed board that is responsible for acting in the best interest of the general public. The Food Standards Agency aims to promote good health throughout the United Kingdom through the establishment of protocol and the delivery of research concerning food and consumption.
The Food Standards Agency is headquartered in London, but maintains national offices throughout Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
In addition to its overall objective, the Food Standards Agency has recently evolved and developed into a multi-tiered department. The Food Standards Agency possesses two branches that operate in conjunction with the Department: the Meat Hygiene Service and the Wine Standards Board.
History of the Food Standards Agency
Relatively new in regards to creation, the Food Standards Agency was implemented and developed in 2000 in response to a report conducted by Professor Edwin James. The report created by James revealed a number of high-profile outbreaks that occurred in the United Kingdom, their impacts, and causes and the subsequent deaths that resulted from foodborne illnesses.
Although the United Kingdom maintained a government department (the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) responsible for upholding various food safety issues, policymakers felt that it was ineffective to place the responsibility for both the health of the agricultural industry and the safety issues surrounding the food processing industries, as well as the enforcement of food safety as a whole, on one government department.
Food Standards Agency’s Board Meetings
To quell the problems surrounding administrative responsibilities and the number of foodborne illnesses, the Food Standards Act created the Food Standards Agency, while awarding the Department the statutory right to publish advice concerning food to the public. This exchange of information is conducted by the board and ministers within the Department. From its inception, the Food Standards Agency agreed that it would not offer or deliver policies concerning food except those that were brought up at board meetings.
Since 2003, these meetings have been broadcasted on the Internet. This transparency has enabled consumers and generic citizens to evaluate and observe the decision-making process attached to each action. Every board meeting ends with a question and answer session, where web viewers can pose questions or concerns to the board’s executive body directly.