Victory for food manufacturers as health groups accuse Andrew Lansley of caving in to big business
The Food Standards Agency is to be abolished by Andrew Lansley, the health secretary, it emerged last night, after the watchdog fought a running battle with industry over the introduction of colour-coded “traffic light” warnings for groceries, TV dinners and snacks.
The move has sparked accusations that the government has “caved in to big business”.
As part of the changes Lansley will reassign the FSA’s regulatory aspects – including safety and hygiene – to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
Its responsibilities for nutrition, diet and public health will be incorporated into the Department of Health.
“The functions of the FSA will be subsumed into the Department of Health and Defra,” a source told Reuters.
Andrew Burnham, Labour’s health spokesman, said: “Getting rid of the FSA is the latest in a number of worrying steps that show Andrew Lansley caving in to the food industry. It does raise the question whether the health secretary wants to protect the public health or promote food companies.”