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Food Standards Act 1999

Section 9: General functions in relation to animal feedingstuffs

31.This section provides that the Agency has the same functions of giving policy and other advice to public authorities, advice and information to the public and other bodies, and on the acquisition of information, in relation to animal feedingstuffs.

32.The Agency will have wide-ranging responsibilities in the area of animal feedingstuffs. These include, for example, EU controls governing the safety, composition and labelling of animal feeds. The main reason for giving the Agency responsibility in this area is because of the possible implications of animal feedingstuffs for the safety of human consumers eating meat and animal products. This is already encompassed by the Agency’s main objective in section 1 and its advice and information functions in sections 6-8, which apply to food safety and other interests of consumers in relation to food. However, in carrying out its responsibilities on animal feed, the Agency will also incidentally deal with matters which are not directly about food safety or the interests of consumers of food. For example, most of the relevant EU and domestic provisions also apply to pet foods, and responsibility for these cannot readily be separated from responsibility for animal feeds. Similarly there are provisions which relate to protecting the interests of the purchasers of animal feeds, or ensuring that the safety or health of the animal itself is not damaged. Although these matters are secondary to the Agency’s primary purpose in relation to human health, the Agency needs to be able to have the legal basis to undertake these functions and this section provides it.

33.Prior to this Act, feedingstuffs were regulated by means of regulations under the Food Safety Act 1990, the Agriculture Act 1970 and the European Communities Act 1972, and by Orders made under the Animal Health Act 1981. Under the Act, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food will cease to have responsibility for regulations under the 1990 Act, but will remain responsible for the 1970 and 1981 Acts. Both the Secretary of State and the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food can make feed-related regulations under the European Communities Act 1972. The Agency will be able to give advice to both Ministers on the need for legislation under all these Acts as it sees appropriate. However, orders under the Animal Health Act in relation to feed are usually used to control feed borne diseases of animals, where MAFF’s veterinary expertise is very important. Thus MAFF will retain the primary policy making role in relation to these. Arrangements will be put in place to ensure that MAFF and the Agency do not duplicate work in this area. MAFF and the Agency will co-operate closely to ensure that both bodies consult each other on feedingstuffs matters affecting human and animal health (see also section 28 in relation to cooperation on zoonoses).

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