September 1997 as part of the government's commitment to setting up the Food Standards Agency.
The new group will bring together key MAFF and DoH officials who are essential to laying the groundwork for the agency's creation.
Food safety minister Jeff Rooker said:
'Scientists at MAFF and the department of health do a great deal of
good work to make sure that the food we buy is safe to eat; but the variety and breadth of that work needs to be co-ordinated and focused better. That is what this new group will do.
'It is the precursor to having an accountable, independent Food Standards Agency. In the meantime, Tessa Jowell and I will leave no stone unturned in fulfilling our pledge to put consumers and food safety at the very top of our agenda.'
Public health minister Tessa Jowell said:
'We are not prepared to compromise on public safety in relation to
'We have therefore taken immediate action to ensure the closest
co-operation across Government in preparation for the Food Standards Agency.'
Besides allowing for closer working on day-to-day food safety and standards issues, this arrangement confirms the co-operation between MAFF and DoH in ensuring the best food standards for British consumers.
1. A White Paper setting out the Food Standards Agency is expected in the autumn.
2. Minister for food safety Jeff Rooker and minister for public health Tessa Jowell share a joint role in preparing for the agency and promoting food safety.
3. The chief medical officer takes on a high-level co-ordinating role in case of any food scares, and ensures that matters affecting human health are presented clearly and comprehensively to the public.