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Food Standards Act 1999

Section 1: The Food Standards Agency

7.This section establishes the Food Standards Agency and sets its main objective. More details concerning the constitution of the Agency can be found in Schedule 1.

8.Subsection (1) establishes the Agency for the purpose of carrying out the functions that are provided for in the rest of the Act. These functions provide the framework in which the Agency will operate. The way in which they will be carried out is limited by the requirements that are set down in the subsequent provisions, in particular sections 22 and 23. These provide for the Agency to carry out its functions in accordance with a statement of objectives and practices that has been approved by the appropriate authorities (as described in section 2 below). Section 23 furthermore requires that the Agency must act in a proportionate manner by taking account of risks, costs and benefits, as well as of any advice it receives from its advisory committees.

9.Subsection (2) defines the main objective of the Agency. Food safety is central to this objective, but the subsection also embraces the Agency’s role in relation to nutrition and diet, and protecting the wider food-related interests of consumers - sometimes referred to as food standards. This would cover in particular such matters as the labelling and composition of food (section 36(2) clarifies that the expression ‘interests of consumers in relation to food’, used in section 1 and at various places in the Act, includes matters related to the labelling, marking, presenting or advertising of food, and the descriptions which may be applied to food). This subsection does not imply that the Agency has any wider powers or functions than those provided by the rest of the Act, but sets the context in which the Agency’s powers must be used.

10.Subsection (3) establishes the Agency as a Crown body. It will be a non-Ministerial government department.

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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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