29 April 1998
MPs call on Government to fund Food Standards Agency
By FWi staff
TAXPAYERS should fund the Food Standards Agency, and not industry, in a bid to reassure the public of the forthcoming agencys independence, according to an all-party committee of MPs.
The onus was on Government to ensure that the agency was properly financed, well managed and effectively led, according to the House of Commons agriculture select committee report on food safety, released today (Wednesday).
Committee member, MP Diana Organ, said it wasnt fair to burden the food industry with the additional cost of funding the FSA, thus reducing the industrys competitiveness.
The most controversial aspect of the committees report was its call for a ban on the use of antibiotics as growth promoters on farms.
But the committee also claimed that public confidence in food safety, in respect of pesticides and veterinary medicine residues, would be enhanced if the surveillance programmes were carried out by the FSA rather than staying with the Pesticides Safety Directorate and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate of MAFF.
It also favours the inclusion of nutrition policy in the remit of the FSA. It argues that poorly balanced diets cause greater damage to human health than food poisoning.
The committee also recommends that the disposal of sewage sludge and other organic waste on to agricultural land must be kept under close scrutiny and must be continuously reviewed in the light of the eventual findings of the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food.