As Scotland’s national regulator for food and feed FSS has a statutory responsibility under The Food (Scotland) Act 2015 to protect consumers from food safety risks, to improve dietary health, and to protect consumers’ other interests in relation to food. How we fulfil our role as a national regulator and the approaches we adopt will be important in achieving these objectives to deliver the best outcomes for consumers, and a key priority for FSS is developing a future regulatory strategy that is clear about:
How our regulatory functions are delivered
How we gain assurance about the performance of food businesses
How businesses are acting to protect consumers and what those businesses should expect from us
The draft regulatory strategy agreed by the FSS Board in March 2016, along with the subsequent papers the Board considered in June and August on the principles of official control delivery and key elements of an effective and sustainable system of regulatory oversight, establishes our proposed strategic approach as a basis for further dialogue with stakeholders.
FSS’s primary concern will always be consumer protection, so this means that food businesses that operate responsibly and do things that benefit consumers’ interests should benefit from risk-based and proportionate regulation, whilst effective and dissuasive action is taken with those businesses who do not step up to their responsibilities to consumers.
Scotland has a thriving food and drink sector which has a strong reputation both at home and abroad, and it is clear that a compliant food and drink industry is good for consumers as well as being good for business. As a Scottish regulator working in line with the Scottish Regulators’ Strategic Code of Practice we have an important role to play in supporting the economic wellbeing and strong international reputation of our food and drink sector by ensuring it is underpinned by an effective and sustainable regulatory system for food safety and standards, whether operating in the domestic, EU or wider global markets.
Prioritising consumer protection and applying better regulation principles to support a responsible and flourishing food and drink sector are therefore the central themes running through our proposed regulatory approach. Equally important is the need work closely with our delivery partners to identify areas where change may be needed to shape the future food and feed regulatory landscape so that it remains effective, efficient and risk-based to meet the needs and challenges of modern Scotland. This includes considering the resilience and capacity of existing food law enforcement services across Scotland and, of course, the nature of Scotland’s future relationship with Europe.
Why We Are Consulting
This consultation is intended to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to comment on our proposed strategic approach for regulating the food and drink industry in Scotland. It will also give stakeholders an early opportunity to consider those areas of the food and feed regulatory system in Scotland where change may be required to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of the current system. FSS is developing a programme of work to underpin our regulatory strategy that will explore these issues in more detail and provide further opportunities for stakeholder input at working level, but we are keen to seek initial stakeholder views at this early stage in the policy development process.