Food agency intends to safeguard consumers and if necessary regulate industry to help improve diets and health
Food Standards Scotland (FSS) was launched in April 2015 by the Scottish Government to provide 'independent, consistent, evidence-based and consumer-focused information' to protect public health, improve the Scottish diet and protect the interests of consumers in relation to food.
It has now produced its first five-year strategy, Shaping Scotland's Food Future, outlining its plans.
The reality the strategy must confront is that while food and drink production -- including the lucrative whisky market -- makes a significant contribution to the Scottish economy, Scottish diets do not match healthy eating recommendations, with attendant costs in terms of the health of the population and expenditure on healthcare. Almost two‑thirds of adults in Scotland are either overweight or obese, and progress in meeting the Scottish Dietary Goals has been negligible. The strategy also identifies food-borne illness, micronutrient deficiencies and diet-related health inequalities as concerns it hopes to help correct.
Amid language presumably intended to allay the fears of corporate food interests, FSS bares a few teeth. It promises to 'develop specific measures to minimise consumption of "discretionary" foods and drinks (including sugar-sweetened beverages), through adjustments to the promotion and formulation of these products in ways aimed at rebalancing the diet towards a lower sugar and less calorie-dense diet'. If negotiation with industry and voluntary measures do not work, then it will 'if necessary develop recommendations for fiscal or regulatory measures'.
Read the strategy in full here.
Find out more about Sustain's work to achieve a more sustainable food supply here.
Published 21 Aug 2016
Sustain: Sustain The alliance for better food and farming advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity.