Health minister, Andrew Lansley, faces accusations of being in cahoots with junk-food companies following their announcement that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is to be axed. The FSA, which employs 2,000 people, was set up in the wake of the mad cow disease scandal to protect the public from unscrupulous food companies.
Critics have accused the government of “caving into big business” by abolishing the agency. The FSA had fought a long-running battle with the food industry over the labelling of food, proposing a “traffic light” system to alert shoppers of high fat and sugar levels, which had been vigorously opposed by food producers and retailers.
Labour health spokesman and leadership contender Andy Burnham said: “Getting rid of the FSA is the latest in a number of worrying steps … It does raise the question whether the health secretary wants to protect the public health or promote food companies.”
Other bodies in Mr Lansley’s firing line include the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and NHS Blood and Transplant.