Plans to create a new food standards body for Scotland have received the backing of politicians sitting on Holyrood's Health and Sport Committee.

The Scottish Government wants to set up Food Standards Scotland (FSS) to replace the current Food Standards Agency (FSA) in Scotland. The FSA is based in Aberdeen.

The new body would have a wider scope, including greater powers to tackle diet and nutritional health.

Loading article content

Committee members have supported The Food (Scotland) Bill, which would establish FSS, but they have called for more information on some of its provisions.

The new agency would have the power to sanction anyone breaking food laws, including issuing fixed penalty notices.

MSPs want the Scottish Government to consider setting up an appeals process for the new sanctions.

They have called for more information on how the new body would work with UK-funded research bodies .

They also want to know how the organisation would exploit European funding opportunities.

Committee convener Duncan McNeil MSP said: "Scotland's food and drink industry has gained an international reputation for quality, so the creation of this body will have a vital role in ensuring that consumers have trust in the safety of the food they eat.

"The proposed legislation will also give the new organisation greater power to administer sanctions to those breaking Scotland's food law, which will ultimately provide reassurance to consumers."

Deputy convener Bob Doris MSP said: "Whilst this Bill may seem like an administrative change, in fact, what is being proposed is a new body which will not only be responsible for food safety but also diet and nutrition."