SCOTLAND – Heather Kelman has succeeded Ross Finnie as the new Chair of the Food Standards Scotland (FSS), bringing along her over 40 years of experience in the public sector, including 10 years as a dietitian, and most recently as a strategic planner and senior manager within the NHS.
NHS Scotland, is the publicly funded healthcare system in Scotland, and one of the four systems which make up the National Health Service in the United Kingdom.
Kelman has been a member of the FSS board since its creation in 2015.
Her previous role, where health protection, promoting positive health and wellbeing, and addressing health inequalities, dominated her agenda ensures she is fully equipped to meet the demands of her new position.
She comes on board as FSS focuses on improving the country’s eating habits while safely navigating the EU exit, Covid recovery, climate change and now the supply chain disruptions as a consequence of the conflict in Ukraine, which are creating turbulence within the food system.
FSS is aiming to make sure these challenges don’t discourage people from prioritizing food safety and food standards.
In Spring 2021, the regulator set out its strategic ambitions for the next five years, focusing on protecting the diverse interests of people in Scotland. As an independent public sector food body, FSS will continue to tackle the important task of improving the Scottish diet and associated negative health consequences.
“I’m honored to steer Food Standards Scotland through the next five years, and I will work hard to create a healthier national diet and meet the organization’s targets.
“I look forward to working closely with stakeholders right across agriculture and the food industry and retail to create quality, healthy, sustainable food for Scotland, and address challenges. I want to thank the outgoing Chair for the excellent groundwork firmly in place to build upon,” Kelman said.
FSS’s Chief Executive Geoff Ogle noted the wealth of experience that Heather brings hence expressed that they look forward to working with her to deliver on their strategic priorities.
“The last few years have presented us with a number of challenges, all of which have highlighted the importance of looking after our health and good nutrition. As a team, we will keep pace with changes in the food environment – continuing to drive compliance, maintain high standards and safeguard public health,” he said.
FSS has a unique role in government, working independently of ministers and industry, to provide impartial advice based on robust science and data. Its remit covers all aspects of the food chain which can impact on public health – aiming to protect consumers from food safety risks and promote healthy eating.