The role of the agency is outlined in a White Paper, The Food Standards Agency: A Force for Change, with the main aim of protecting public health in relation to food. The agency will be responsible for providing policy advice to ministers, including the new Scottish parliament, on food safety and standards, aspects of nutrition, for drafting legislation, and for providing the public with information and advice.
Launching the White Paper in Aberdeen, Mr Galbraith said:
'This White Paper sets out our proposals for a new agency which will oversee and improve food safety and food standards throughout the food chain from the plough to our plates.
'The agency will provide unbiased assessments of food safety based upon the best available scientific advice. It will also ensure that people get clearly presented information to allow them to make informed choices. At one end - on the farm- it will aim to ensure that the basic product is good and uncontaminated before it gets into the food chain. Further down the chain, it will set standards to reduce the risks from bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
'The agency will put consumers first. It will have tough powers to make sure the high standards we are aiming for are met all the way from farms to shops, to restaurants and to our kitchens.'
Food safety and food standards will be devolved to the new Scottish parliament. The agency will have a strong Scottish voice through an independent Scottish advisory committee and an identifiable Scottish arm of the executive.
1.The agency will be a single public body comprising a commission of no more than 12 independent members. It will be supported by a substantial executive staff headed by a chief executive.
2.The UK Commission will include two members who have special responsibility for Scottish food safety issues.
3.The staff of the agency will be civil servants. They will be accountable to the commission rather than to ministers.
4.In order to reflect Scotland's distinctive legislative and administrative arrangements, a Scottish advisory committee will be set up under statute to provide a focus for Scottish interests in food standards and advise the agency's commission and the secretary of state or his successor under devolution. The committee will be chaired by one of the two commissioners with special responsibility for Scotland.
5.A Scottish executive will be established, headed by a director, who will report to the Food Standards Agency chief executive. The Scottish director will be appointed jointly by health ministers in consultation with agriculture ministers.
6.The agency's annual expenditure is estimated to be in excess of£100m, part of which will continue to be recovered through charges to industry.