Monday 6th October 2014
FOOD STANDARDS SCOTLAND
We are what we eat. It goes without saying, if we don’t have a balanced diet the less healthy we are likely to be. Indeed, bad eating habits are the most significant cause of ill health in Scotland – even more than smoking. It is estimated that the cost of dealing with obesity is likely to rise to £3 billion per year by 2030.
This is in part why the Scottish Government has proposed to introduce a new food body the functions of which have been examined by the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee which I convene and which was the subject of debate in Parliament last week. Food Standard’s Scotland – as it will be called – will advise on how we improve the nation’s diet and nutrition to help people live longer healthier lives.
It will also have the overarching function of ensuring that food in Scotland is safe to eat. Although it is clear that the large majority of food produced in Scotland is indeed safe, it’s of real concern that 2,000 people per year are hospitalised due to food poisoning.
Here in Scotland the new body will be given greater powers which will ultimately help to reassure consumers and send out a strong signal that those organisations that fall below acceptable standards will not be let off lightly.
The Health & Sport Committee welcomes the fact that the Government and parties across the Parliament have agreed that the new agency will be a positive step forward to protect consumers and support the Scottish food and drink industry and their strong international reputation for safe quality food.