A new Scottish independent regulatory body has launched to tackle food safety, diet and nutrition north of the border. 

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) will now take over responsibilities previously carried out by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The FSS will have additional powers regarding food safety in the wake of the horsemeat scandal. It will also provide policy advice, keep consumers informed and ensure the enforcement of food regulations.

Public health minister Maureen Watt said the launch represented a “great day” for the Scottish consumer and the food and drink sector in Scotland. She said: “We now have a new food body that is uniquely placed to focus on our own particular needs and priorities. Food Standards Scotland will be a trusted source of food safety advice and nutritional guidance.”

FSS chief executive Geoff Ogle said: “Our focus will be on making decisions based on the food safety, labelling and nutrition issues that affect the Scottish public most directly.”

FSS is mainly funded by government with a budget of £15.7m. The organisation is based in new premises in Aberdeen and has around 160 staff.

MSPs at Holyrood passed the legislation for setting up the new body in December last year.