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Scotland’s New Food Safety Authority Sets Up Shop

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-scotland-image21567688Effective April 1, Scotland has established its own food safety agency, taking the responsibility of food safety regulation out from under the oversight of the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency.

Food Standards Scotland is intended to focus on the unique food safety needs of Scotland, said Maureen Watt, the country’s public health minister.

Responsibilities of the new agency include ensuring the safety of Scotland’s food supply, serving as a watchdog over food fraud, and providing nutritional recommendations to the country’s citizens.

The Scottish Parliament passed the bill approving the creation of the new agency in early December 2014.

Plans for the new agency arose after the UK government transferred nutrition and food labeling in England from the Food Standards Agency to the Department of Health and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

That transfer of responsibilities “removed significant capacity” in the areas of nutrition and labeling functions for Scotland and needed to be rectified, according to health officials in Scotland.

Foodborne illness impacts an estimated 132,000 Scots each year, resulting in 2,330 hospitalizations, 50 deaths, and £140 million (about $209 million) in costs.

Food Standards Scotland is headquartered in Aberdeen and currently has a staff of 160.

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