A CONSUMER watchdog has called on ministers to give a food standards watchdog stronger powers to act on food fraud in the wake of the horsemeat scandal and demanded that it should not be secretive.

Which? says the Food Standards Scotland agency requires new measures to enable the body to be proactive while insisting board meetings should be heard in public so it is clear how decisions are reached.

The current proposals mean the FSS board meetings are not required to be in public.

The Scottish government wants to set up FSS to replace the current Food Standards Agency in Scotland.

Provisions to create the body are contained in the Food (Scotland) Bill, which has already been backed by the parliament's health committee.

The new body was expected to have a wider scope, including greater powers to tackle diet and nutritional health in addition to regulating food safety.

Extra measures to ensure food safety were also included in the legislation in the wake of the horsemeat scandal.

The new body would be given specific powers to seize food that does not meet labelling rules.

But Which? says it wants MSPs to support its amendments to the Food (Scotland) Bill which is going through Parliament which will provide more effective enforcement and a more joined-up approach.

A government spokeswoman said: "Ministers continue to be supportive of the call for consumer focus and this can be seen throughout the Bill."