UK – The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has appointed Professor Susan Jebb, the Oxford BRC’s Theme Lead for Obesity, Diet and Lifestyle in 2007 as their new chairperson.

FSA is a non-ministerial government department of the Government of the United Kingdom. It is responsible for protecting public health in relation to food in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The appointment was rubber-stamped on 11 June following a hearing at the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee and is valid as of 1 July 2021.

She takes over as the permanent Chair of the regulator from interim Chair Ruth Hussey who succeeded Heather Hancock after she stood down in January, following her election as Master of St John’s College, Cambridge.

Endorsing her appointment, Committee Chair Jeremy Hunt MP acknowledged her outstanding performance during her hearing in front of the select committee.

Professor Susan will be in office for three years before making a new appointment.

“My aim is to champion science and transparent, evidence-based decision making, while ensuring the consumer perspective is central to everything we do.

Professor Susan Jebb, the Oxford BRC’s Theme Lead for Obesity, Diet and Lifestyle

During this time, Susan will continue part-time as co-lead of the department’s Health Behaviors Group.

She notes that this is an important time for the food system and looks forward to building on the trust that the government has placed in the FSA to play a full and active role in the challenges that lie ahead.

 The professor acknowledges the cruciality of the department continuing to be highly effective in protecting public health and delivering its mission of ‘food we can trust’.

“I aim to champion science and transparent, evidence-based decision-making while ensuring the consumer perspective is central to everything we do.

 I want to strengthen our relationships across government and with the devolved countries so that together we can maintain the confidence in our food standards among consumers and our trading partners,” she says.

Commenting on the appointment, the Head of the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, Professor Richard Hobbs, said:

“Susan has a leading role in building our department’s capacity for high-quality public health research, bringing science to the heart of public debate on obesity, food, and our environment. She has championed the role of evidence in policy making and has helped transform national approaches to tackling diet and weight loss.

 Professor Susan Jebb is one of the country’s leading scientists, a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.  Her recent research has focused on the treatment of obesity and interventions to encourage healthy and sustainable diets.”

Susan has a perpetual interest in adopting scientific evidence into policy and was the Science Advisor to the Government Office for Science Foresight report on obesity in 2007 and is currently an advisor to the National Food Strategy.

Previously she has chaired the cross-government expert advisory group on obesity (2007–2011), the Department of Health responsibility deal food network (2011–2015) and public health advisory committees for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2013-2018).

 She was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2008 for services to public health.