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Food Standards Act 1999

Section 6: Development of food policy and provision of advice, etc. to public authorities

22.This section gives the Agency the function of providing advice, information and assistance, including on matters relating to the development of policy on food safety and related matters, to any public authority (which would include, for example, local authorities or agencies of government). So far as Ministers, government departments and their equivalents in the devolved authorities are concerned, the Agency will have a duty to provide such advice, information and assistance on request, unless it is not reasonably practicable for it to do so (for example, because the resource costs of providing any particular item of information would be disproportionate).

23.The advice, information and assistance which the Agency has the function of providing could for example include making recommendations to Ministers on the need for new primary legislation or proposing and drafting secondary legislation in order to improve food safety and standards. Another important aspect of the Agency’s function of assisting Ministers will be to represent the UK at official level in relevant EU and other international forums.

24.It is intended that the Agency as a UK body will be the primary source of policy advice in relation to food safety and associated areas to the Government as a whole, and to the devolved authorities. Most of the relevant expertise available to the Government and those authorities in the area of food safety and standards will therefore reside with the Agency and will not be duplicated within other government departments. The Agency will also be able to advise on the development of policies by other government departments on matters that are relevant to the Agency’s own area of responsibility, for example advice to the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on activities on the farm which may have an impact on food hygiene; or on relevant consumer protection matters to the Department of Trade and Industry.

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