An independent expert panel has been set up by Scottish Ministers to consider the future delivery of the food standards regime in Scotland. It follows the UK Government’s decision last year to absorb some of the policy areas overseen in England by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), a UK-wide body, back into Whitehall departments. Chaired by the UK’s former chief vet, Jim Scudamore, the review panel will consider the feasibility of establishing a dedicated Scottish FSA, and also the merits of establishing a standalone meat inspection delivery service in Scotland. Public Health Minister Michael Matheson said: “The Westminster Government’s decision to fragment the FSA south of the border has resulted in a situation where a UK-wide agency carries out different food standard functions in different parts of the UK. Scotland needs to consider how best to respond to this change, recognising the expertise of the FSA team based in Aberdeen. That’s why we have invited Jim Scudamore to lead a review that can provide Ministers with recommendations on the FSA’s functions in Scotland. The review will also include a full assessment of the feasibility of setting up a devolved meat inspection delivery service in Scotland. We expect the panel to consult widely before reporting to Ministers later this year.”

Issued on the Scottish Government website on 23 June 2011 –