Ruth Hussey takes helm of UK Food Standards Agency as search for substantive chair begins

UK – The UK’s Food Standards Agency has announced the appointment of Ruth Hussey as its interim chair, effective 1 February 2021.

According to a statement from the agency, Hussey will hold the role for up to three months, to allow time for the process of recruiting a replacement for current chair Heather Hancock to conclude.

Hancock will be standing down from the position at the end of this month, having been elected the master of St John’s College, Cambridge.

She was appointed chair of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) board in April 2016 having been appointed Deputy Chair in September 2015 whilst awaiting a Parliamentary Select Committee pre-appointment hearing before appointment as Chair was confirmed.

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In February 2019, she was reappointed for an additional three-year term and had previously gave evidence on food safety after Brexit to the House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee in March 2019 and in July 2018.

Hussey was an FSA board member for Wales and chair of the Welsh Food Advisory Committee from 2016 until she was appointed as deputy chair of the FSA in July last year.

As part of a career in public health, Hussey has also previously served as Chief Medical Officer for Wales after nearly four years in the post.

She is a member of the Health Equity Board, Public Health England and advisory board member for the NIHR, School of Public Health Research.

She is also an Honorary Professor at the University of Liverpool and has awards from other Universities in England and Wales.

“I am delighted to be able to step into this new role. The FSA is a progressive and effective organisation which works in an evidence-based and transparent way,” said incoming FSA interim chair, Hussey.

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“As the food system continues to evolve, I will strive to ensure that food safety and public health continue to be protected with confidence.

“I look forward to working with my fellow board members to continue to protect consumers’ interests in relation to food.”

Established in 2000 following several high-profile outbreaks of foodborne illness, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is the independent government department working to protect public health and consumers’ wider interests in relation to food in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The FSA’s role does not just cover food safety, but also other consumer interests in food, which include price, availability, and some aspects of food production standards like environmental concerns and animal welfare.

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