FSS Stakeholder MeetingWednesday, 13th Jan 2016
Food Standards Scotland's (FSS) Stakeholder Forum
Tuesday 12 January 2016, George Hotel, Edinburgh. SFMTA chief executive Douglas Scott was among 80 stakeholders attending.
This was an opportunity to engage in presentations from the FSS Board Committee and Senior Management Team, and also discuss FSS future plans and the development of their Strategic Plan. It was also an opportunity to network with FSS and other stakeholders.
FSS is only ten months old and Director Elspeth McDonald reminded us that they are an at arms length body clear of government. Role includes nutrition and diet.
Aim "to create a food and drink environment in Scotland that benefits, protects and is trusted by consumers."
Context is wide and changing. Environmental, socio-demographic, technology and globalisation (longer more complex supply chains).
Change in Scotland 43,000 cases annually of food borne illnesses. No progress towards Scottish Dietary goals. Two-thirds of all Scots are overweight. Food fraud is being address with a Food Crime unit in Scotland. Scotland is ambitious for its food and wants to be a Good Food Nation. All this is trying to be done with less resources which is a challenge.
To protect public from risks to health which may arise in connection with the consumption of food. To improve the extent to which members of the public have diets which are conducive to good health. Keep public and others advised, to help them make informed opinions. Monitor performance of food enforcement authorities.
These should be embedded in the work during the first ten months? Havepeople at the heart of what they do, putting consumer first.
Be a credible, consistent and trusted voice of authority on food matters in Scotland, based on decisions upon sound science and evidence. Be open and transparent in dealings with public, businesses and partners.be at arms length from ministers while remaining aligned with government purpose. Collaborate with others to achieve the best outcome for the public.
The ten principles created the most debate. They were as follows:-
1. Public health and consumer protection in relation to food will be at the heart of FSS's strategy.
2. FSS engages consumers and stakeholders in determining and then delivering its strategic priorities and listen to what matters to consumers in relation to food.
3. In working to deliver its strategic outcome FSS takes decisions based on evidence.
4. FSS will seek to work collaboratively with other bodies in Scotland, the UK and beyond when this can realise greater benefit than working alone.
5. FSS values its independence alongside Government whilst recognising its role in contributing to wider outcomes.
6. FSS fulfils its role as a Competent Authority in relation to EU food and feed law.
7. Food and feed businesses and other stakeholders that engage with FSS are treated fairly and with respect.
8. FSS fulfils its regulatory obligations
9. FSS's decisions and actions should support compliance and reduce non compliance.
10. FSS is clear that compliance is good for consumers and good for business - protection of public health is compatible with business and economic growth
Strategy is for a five year plan
1. Food is safe
2. Food is authentic
3. Consumers choose healthier diets
4. Responsible food businesses flourish
5. FSS is a trusted organisation
6. FSS is established, efficient and effective
Scottish Government have national outcomes with seven of these with relevance to FSS. These include
FSS feel that they must have an approach to evidence - developing a science and evidence strategy that supports their evidence requirements. They feel that they should be open and engage. FSS
Six tables formed a discussion group. After 90 minutes the facilitators reported back.
Values and principles should link back to statutory strategic objectives. Confusion between need for all the values and all the principles.
Needs to be clear about how everything links together. Multiple interests and multiple strategies how do they fit together. This should cover encouraging healthier diets and access to healthy and affordable food. Should FSS be a lobbyist?
There is still some way to be clear how FSS works with the food industry to improve compliance. More developed strategy to allow responsible businesses to flourish and be sustainable.
Are the objectives realistic?
The value of being independent and able to demonstrate that, both from government and business. Need for FSS to be accountable.
Consultation will take place during February. FSS are keen to align resources with what they consider achievable.