Food watchdog 'needs more powers'

05 Jul 2013

Powers to compel supermarkets to carry out food safety checks and make the results public should be granted to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), Labour says.

The Opposition wants to see the food safety watchdog handed greater control to prevent a repeat of the horse meat scandal earlier this year.

Shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh said the frustration at getting information from retailers during the scandal when horse meat was found in beef and other products on shop shelves had convinced her of the need for further powers.

"The FSA has certain powers to compel food companies to do things. But it lacks other powers and I think it needs those powers," she said.

"Powers to compel supermarkets to test; it doesn't have those. Powers to compel supermarkets to reveal the full results of those tests; it doesn't have those."

Ms Creagh also criticised the coalition's move to transfer some of the functions of the FSA to Whitehall, claiming it had prevented ministers from getting vital independent advice and shattered the watchdog's clarity of purpose.

She called for the reform to be reversed to return the FSA to being a "gold standard" regulator "unequivocally on the side of consumers".

Copyright Press Association 2013

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