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Food Standards Act 1999

Overview of the Act

6.The main body of the Act is arranged as follows:

  • The Food Standards Agency (sections 1-5), concerns the establishment of the Agency, its main objective and its main organisational arrangements including the establishment of advisory committees (more detailed provisions are contained in Schedules 1 and 2);

  • General functions in relation to food (sections 6-8), confers on the Agency responsibility for developing food policy and advising Ministers and other public authorities, for advising consumers and other interested parties and for keeping abreast of developments relevant to its remit;

  • General functions in relation to animal feedingstuffs (section 9) supplements the Agency’s functions in relation to animal feed;

  • Observations with a view to acquiring information (sections 10-11) gives the Agency functions in relation to surveillance and provides powers to enable it to carry them out;

  • Monitoring of enforcement action (sections 12-16) gives the Agency a function of monitoring food and feedingstuffs law enforcement and provides powers to enable it to carry it out;

  • Other functions of the Agency (sections 17-21) describes the Secretary of State and the devolved authorities’ powers to delegate the making of emergency orders to the Agency, the Agency’s power to publish its advice, its functions under other Acts and supplementary functions (detailed functions under the Food Safety Act 1990 and other primary legislation are provided for in Schedule 3);

  • General provisions relating to the functions of the Agency (sections 22-25), concerns certain considerations which the Agency must observe in carrying out its functions; provides for directions by Ministers and the devolved authorities should the Agency fail to perform its duties, and allows for modification of enactments to allow disclosure of information to the Agency and publication by it;

  • Miscellaneous provisions (sections 26-35), sets out the functions no longer to be exercised by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and the Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland and makes various provisions for consultation with other parts of Government or the devolved administrations on aspects of food safety. It also allows secondary legislation to apply to animal feedingstuffs provisions equivalent to those of the Food Safety Act 1990, and corresponding Northern Ireland legislation and makes provisions for the modification of the constitution of the Agency, in the light of experience with devolution, or in the event of Scotland or Northern Ireland exercising their right to withdraw from the Agency or any of its functions;

  • Final provisions (sections 36-43), defines various terms used in the Act, makes provision in relation to the financing of the Agency (accounts and audit provisions are in Schedule 4), applies the provisions of the Act to the Crown and amends or repeals legislation as a consequence of the main provisions of the Act (details are set out in the associated Schedules 5 and 6).

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


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