of Article: http://www.foodpoisonjournal.com/
This last Thursday, June
11, 2009, I had the pleasure (and honor) of presenting at the 2009
Conference on Law of Food and Drink, sponsored by the British Institute of
International and Comparative Law. The program of presentations was
interesting and, for me, quite informative. (For a look at the program, see
One of the highlights,
was the Keynote Speech by Dame Deirdre Hutton, the current chair of the
Food Standards Agency (FSA) in Britain. Although the FSA can be
compared to USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, or the parts of the
FDA responsible for food safety, it is really more like the U.S. Federal
Reserve, because it is an independent agency. As described on its
website, (which can be found here, www.food.gov.uk/aboutus/how_we_work/#h_2):
the FSA is a Government agency, it works at 'arm's length' from Government
because it doesn't report to a specific minister and is free to publish any
advice it issues.
The Agency is led by a Board that has been appointed to act in the public
interest and not to represent particular sectors. Board members have a wide
range of relevant skills and experience.
We base our decisions and advice on the best evidence available. And we aim
to ensure that our decision-making process is as open and transparent in as
Whenever possible, we seek the views of interested parties before reaching
conclusions, and always explain the reasons for its decision and advice in
a straightforward manner.
The Agency also obtains independent expert advice from its scientific
advisory committees and commissions research to support its functions.
independent agency that makes evidence-based decisions in the public
interest, without regard to the private interests of industry, or to the
government politics of the moment. Now that is certainly a model that
the U.S. should think of following.