The government has restated its commitment to improving public health by moving nutrition policy for England into the Department of Health from 1 October.
Policies including working with manufacturers to reformulate foods to reduce salt, saturated fat and sugar levels, and reducing portion size, are moving from the Food Standards Agency into the Department of Health. Other policy areas that are transferring include nutritional labelling on foods, calorie information in restaurants, nutrition surveys and scientific advice on nutrition.
The change will ensure nutrition policy is delivered in a coherent and consistent manner. This is an early step towards realising the government's vision of drawing together the diverse arrangements for delivering public health and health improvement into an inclusive Public Health Service.
The Food Standards Agency and the Department of Health have been working closely together to ensure that the transfer takes place as quickly as possible and, during this time, staff and partners have been kept informed.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "I am committed to improving the public's health by providing evidence-based advice to support people in making healthier choices. The transfer of nutrition policy in England into the Department of Health means we can give the general public more consistent information. It will also mean a more co-ordinated and coherent policy-making process; and a more effective potential partnership between government and external stakeholders.
"The Food Standards Agency will continue to ensure the public's safety by maintaining its essential and robust regulatory role.
"I'd like to thank the staff and partners of the FSA for their hard work to make sure that this change happens quickly and efficiently so that we can get on with the job in hand – improving public health."
The Food Standards Agency will retain its clearly defined departmental function focused on its core remit of food safety
The transfer has involved 85 posts. The FSA will remain a non-ministerial department reporting to Parliament through Department of Health Ministers, and to the Devolved Administrations through their Health Ministries.
Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"The FSA will join the dept. of health I think that is good so that everything is under one roof; but if they do they job as usual then the support should be there; otherwise something fishing is going on ,so keep myself and other informed, thank you" - Rinaldo Brandolini, London
"I find it difficult to assimilate the assertion that the government is committed to improving nutrition and information in dealing with it in all aspects when they have withdrawn support to staff and educationalists to move this commitment forward. I am referring to a conference on childhood obesity to be held next month that clearly fits the government agenda and aims to move forward the evidence that exists in this area. I believe it to be something, that if we subscribe to this article, the government would be coming behind but they have frozen their support for workshops
and conferences and relevant staff, eg, school nurses, dietitians, and health visitors cannot get financial support to attend the conference that is reasonably costed at £60 for the full day including conference pack and meals. It concerns me that on the one hand the government states it supports issues but when the rubber hits the road it does not appear to
support staff who take the agenda forward" - Florence Mitchell, Northern Ireland
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