The Scottish government has launched a 12-week consultation on the roles, responsibilities and functions of a new standalone Scottish food standards body.

The body, which will replace the function of the Food Standards Agency in Scotland, will be responsible for food safety, food standards, nutrition, food labelling and meat inspection.

Farmers and those involved in the meat processing sector will now have the chance to tell the Scottish government what they think the body should do and how it should operate.

Scotland’s public health minister Michael Matheson, who launched the consultation in parliament last week (28 February), said the primary focus of the body would be consumer protection.

“We want our new food body to be as effective as possible, and through this consultation we are making sure we are drawing on the best ideas and expertise when designing a new body,” he said.

“By the summer, we should have independent recommendations on how to improve the food safety regime. In the longer term, the consultation will make sure that we have a robust regulatory regime for food in Scotland.”

Mr Matheson also formally launched a new expert group to look at what lessons could be learned following the horsemeat fiasco.

Led by former chief vet Professor Jim Scudamore, the group has been tasked with making recommendations on how the current food safety regime can be improved, ahead of the creation of a new body.

The FSA launched a second 12-week consultation on proposals for three new legal powers, for possible inclusion in the New Food Body Bill.

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