The Food (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament in March 2014. The Bill passed Stage 1 of the Parliamentary process on October 2, 2014.
The Bill creates Food Standards Scotland, a new, independent body which will replace the UK-wide Food Standards Agency (FSA) in Scotland. The Bill establishes new food law provisions:
- Statutory power to seize and detain food which does not comply with food information law (eg mislabelled food)
- Statutory offence of failure to report breaches of food information law
- Statutory scheme to be introduced at some future point, by regulation, for the mandatory display by food businesses of inspection outcomes
- New administrative sanctions so that offences will be dealt with more quickly and at less cost than prosecution
The decision to create a new body followed changes made at UK level which split up responsibility for food standards and the subsequent recommendations of the Scudamore review (Future arrangements to secure food standards and safety in Scotland) in 2012 which was commissioned by the Scottish Government.
A public consultation on creating a new food body was carried out between February and May 2013 which asked for suggestions to widen the current functions further. The responses were independently analysed and the Scottish Government set out its conclusions:
A second public consultation on proposed enabling primary food and feed legislation provisions was carried out by the FSA.
Following the horsemeat food fraud scandal in early 2013, Ministers asked Professor Scudamore to convene another Expert Advisory Group to make recommendations on lessons learned. Many of these recommendations will be taken forward by the new food body.