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Live Reporting

By Ailsa Brown and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

Time for Tea

That's all from us and after all that discussion of Scotland's favourite dishes, from Cullen Skink to haggis, it is surely time for tea.

Feast
BBC

General principles agreed

MSPs agree to the general principles of the Food (Scotland) Bill

Decision time

Mr Matheson concludes praising the "absolutely fantastic job" the staff in the FSA in Aberdeen do.

Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick takes her seat to begin decision time.

FSS budget

The minister says the FSS will have the budget it requires to undertake the functions the FSA currently carries out.

FSA
BBC

Dietary issues

Mr Matheson says the FSS needs to sit in with the rest of the regulatory functions and bodies that are out there in Europe and beyond.

Michael Matheson
BBC

He says the issue of dietary improvement is very important and the FSS can help improve diet in Scotland.

The minister says retailers have to recognise they are part of the solution in tackling dietary problems.

Minister closes

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson welcomes the cross-party support for the bill, as he closes the debate for the Scottish government.

Rhoda Grant

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant closes for the Labour party by saying they are supportive of the general principles of the bill and that "we need a more robust regulatory regime".

Rhoda Grant
BBC

Porridge sugar

Scottish Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw says the issues of dementia and obesity were barely mentioned back in 1999 but are now "colossal pillars" of the challenges the NHS face.

Jackson Carlaw
BBC

Mr Carlaw says porridge is one of those food stuffs which has been corrupted, claiming instant porridges are thick with sugar substitute.

porridge
BBC

He says he had to look very hard to find an instant porridge without sugar in it.

FSS objectives

Food Standards Scotland's objectives according to the bill will be to:

• develop and help others develop policies on food and animal feeding stuffs

• advise the Scottish government, other authorities and the public on food and animal feeding stuffs

Lamb chops
BBC

• keep the public and users of animal feeding stuffs advised to help them make informed decisions about food and feed stuffs

• monitor the performance of enforcement authorities in enforcing food legislation

Overview of the Food Bill

The bill creates Food Standards Scotland (FSS) - to be Scotland's independent food safety and standards body.

The Scottish government is currently working to appoint a Board and Chair with the range of experience and skills required to guide Food Standards Scotland.

Eggs
BBC

Mr Matheson told the chamber the FSS will be a non-ministerial body, operating free from the influence of ministers.

He said the board and chief executive will need sufficient space to prepare and develop their strategic thinking and build key relationships with partners in time for FSS being up and running in April 2015.

Background to the Food Bill

Public Health Health Minister Michael Matheson outlined the background to the bill:

"The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring people in Scotland live longer, healthier lives. Making sure we eat a good, nutritious diet of safe food is vital to achieving that ambition.

"Food-borne disease costs Scotland £140 million per year. More significantly, of the 130,000 consumers contracting food borne disease each year, around 2,000 will be hospitalised and around 50 will die.

Mince pie
BBC

"Bad eating habits are one of the most significant causes of ill health in Scotland and a major factor in obesity.

"Scotland is positioned near the top of the league tables for obesity among OECD countries. The public cost of dealing with obesity could rise to £3 billion per year by 2030. So even relatively minor improvements to the safety and standards of food in Scotland, will have significant social and economic benefits.

"The Food (Scotland) Bill gives Scotland some of the levers we can use to tackle these issues."

Conservative backing

Scottish Conservative MSP Nanette Milne began by saying her party would also back the general principles of the bill.

Nanette Milne
BBC
Conservative MSP Nanette Milne

Scotland's food and drink

Dr Richard Simpson concludes saying the promotion of Scotland's food and drinks industry is of fundamental importance.

Richard Simpson
BBC
Labour MSP Dr Richard Simpson

'Punnet of puns'

Mr McNeil concluded his speech, which had a feast of food puns, by saying the Health Committee backed the general principles of the bill.

Strawberries
BBC

Deputy Convener John Scott thanked the committee convener for his speech and the committee's report, which he wryly observed contained a "veritable punnet of puns".

Labour view

Labour MSP Dr Richard Simpson begins his speech with a menu of who in the Labour party will address which issues relating to the food bill.

Committee report

The Health Committee published its

Stage One Report on the Food Bill on 21 August.

Haggis
Thinkstock

The Bill seeks to:

  • Establish Food Standards Scotland (FSS) to replace the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in Scotland
  • Allow the scope of FSS's functions to be wider than that of the FSA, with three key objectives:
  • To protect the public from risks to health which may arise in connection with the consumption of food
  • To improve the extent to which members of the public have diets which are conducive to good health
  • To protect the other interests of consumers in relation to food
  • Establish new food law provisions: related to food which does not comply with food information law (e.g. mislabelled food); an offence of failure to report breaches of food information law; a statutory requirement for the mandatory display by food businesses of inspection outcomes; and new administrative sanctions for non-compliance with food law.

Health Committee

Health Committee convener Duncan McNeil begins his speech by saying the committee's scrutiny of the Food Bill is not the "normal bread and butter" work it is used to and he warns of further food puns to come.

Duncan McNeil
BBC

General principles

The minister moves that the parliament backs the general principles of the Food Bill.

Food law provisions

Mr Matheson says in light of the horsemeat food fraud incident the power to seize food that does not comply with food labelling standards and food information law is included in the bill.

It will become an offence to not notify Food Standards Agency Scotland if food does not comply with food information law.

Food Standards Agency in Scotland

Mr Matheson is outlining the details of the bill and the creation of Food Standard.

Michael Matheson
BBC
Public Health Minister Michael Matheson MSP

Changes in the remit of the Food Standards Agency at a UK level announced in 2010 had significant implications for food policy in Scotland.

In response, the Scottish Government launched an independent review on the merits of creating a discrete body in Scotland to perform the functions carried out at present by the Food Standards Agency in Scotland.

This review recommended that a stand alone body be created, as well as making recommendations about new food law provisions.

In 2013, it was found that some beef meat products contained horsemeat.

Horsemeat testing
BBC
Horsemeat testing

Subsequent reviews into the "horsemeat scandal" made recommendations for new food law provisions to prevent a repetition of the incident.

Michael Matheson

Public Health Minister Michael Matheson is leading the debate for the Scottish government.

Food (Scotland) Bill debate

MSPs are debating the

Food (Scotland) Bill at the first stage of its parliamentary scrutiny.

The bill seeks to create a new body - Food Standards Scotland (FSS) - to take over the work of the UK-wide Food Standards Agency in Scotland.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) was established in 2000 in the aftermath of the BSE crisis.

Cows
BBC

It was given a wide remit which included the provision of transparent and independent advice in the fields of food safety, nutrition and labelling.

The statutory objective of the FSA is to "protect public health from risk which may arise in connection with the consumption of food, and otherwise to protect the interests of consumers in relation to food"

Welcome back

Welcome back! Our coverage of the first debate on the

Food (Scotland) Bill will being at 2.30pm.

That's all for now

That's lunch time, which is appropriate as this afternoon's entire business is devoted to the Food Bill, coverage starting from 2.30pm.

First minister's questions will be ready shortly to watch again at

BBC Scotland's Democracy Live website.

Food
PA

UK government

Mr Mackay says he is more than happy to write to the UK government via a cross-party agreement on the issues raised, responding to a plea from Lib Dem MSP Liam McArthur.

Derek Mackay MSP
BBC
Local Government and Planning Minister Derek Mackay MSP

The minister says although the postal services are reserved, we do expect the UK government and Ofcom to work on behalf of the Scottish people.

Derek Mackay

Local Government and Planning Minister Derek Mackay congratulates Hugh Henry for raising the issue of the Royal Mail and Whistl saying we often take mail delivery for granted.

Labour MSP Margaret McCulloch says there is "clearly a need for the regulator to step in" to give clarity to the Royal Mail, Whistl and trade unions.

Margaret McCulloch
BBC
Labour MSP Margaret McCulloch

Review backing

Conservative MSP Gavin Brown says he supports Hugh Henry's call for urgent review and it should be "sooner rather than later".

Gavin Brown
BBC
Conservative MSP Gavin Brown

'Go whistle'

A committee of MPs at Westminster has announced an inquiry into competition in the UK postal sector.

It is in response to complaints from Royal Mail, which says it is facing unfair competition from rival firms such as Whistl - previously TNT Post.

Hugh Henry says this is the "biggest threat to the postal service as we know it and we need to take a stand"

TNT post
Getty Images
TNT has rebranded to Whistl

The Renfrewshire South MSP says the Scottish government must make it clear to Ofcom "action is needed to protect the Royal Mail and calls for an "urgent and full review of end-to-end competition and protect the universal postal service".

Mr Henry concludes: "It is time to tell TNT to go whistle and that's with an E!"

Debate motion

Hugh Henry
BBC
Labour MSP Hugh Henry, MSP for Renfrewshire South

Hugh Henry's motion in full:

"End-to-end Competition and the Universal Postal Service-That the Parliament notes with concern the expansion of end-to-end postal services by TNT Post UK in major UK cities; considers that the sustainability of the universal postal service depends on Royal Mail being able to use revenue from easier to serve, densely populated areas to cover the cost of a nationwide network; is concerned that the cherry-picking of urban and suburban areas by TNT Post UK could have a serious impact on the financial sustainability of the one-price-goes-anywhere, six-days-a-week universal postal service; expresses its support for the universal service that many people in Renfrewshire South and across Scotland, including rural communities and small businesses, rely on, and notes calls for Ofcom to undertake a full review of end-to-end postal competition as a matter of urgency and determine quickly any regulatory changes needed to protect the universal postal service".

Bye for now

We now hand you back to the Democracy Live team for more live coverage of business in the Scottish Parliament.

Your views

A better future: I can see why Westminster Labour in the Scottish Parliament don't like the FM. He wipes the floor with them for looking both ways. #FMQs

Haitch7: Watching #FMQs it's hard to believe we have actually had the referendum as Salmond still seems to be campaigning instead of governing

pitchingpennies: @TannadiceLad (BBC's Brian Taylor) wearing his Dundee United braces at #fmqs that is very, very #braw!

Universal postal service debate

Labour MSP Hugh Henry is leading a member's debate on end-to-end competition and the universal postal service.

In his motion Mr Henry is concerned about the expansion of end-to-end postal services by TNT Post UK in major UK cities and considers that the sustainability of the universal postal service depends on Royal Mail being able to use revenue from easier to serve, densely populated areas to cover the cost of a nationwide network.

Royal Mail
AP

He is also concerned that the cherry-picking of urban and suburban areas by TNT Post UK could have a serious impact on the financial sustainability of the one-price-goes-anywhere, six-days-a-week universal postal service.

Mr Henry expresses support for the universal service that many people in Scotland rely on and is calling for Ofcom to undertake a full review of end-to-end postal competition as a matter of urgency and determine quickly any regulatory changes needed to protect the universal postal service.

'Abuse' of Parliament

A point of order from Labour's Ken Mackintosh, who claims that the first minister's use of question time to make a statement on the poll tax was "an abuse of parliamentary time and disrespectful to all members".

Employment question

The final question is from the SNP's Jim Eadie, who asks "what steps the Scottish government is taking to promote and safeguard employment".

Salmond's announcement

Political Editor of the Scottish Mail on Sunday

Michael Blackley: Interesting that Cameron's announcement yesterday was aimed at people who pay taxes. Salmond's today at #FMQs was aimed at those who don't.

'Record' number of police

Mr Salmond says there is a "record total" of "17,318 officers across Scotland" which would be lowers if Scottish ministers had followed UK government policy in England.

Most police unarmed

The SNP's Christine Grahame points out that most police officers are unarmed.

Not just 'operational' decisions

Lib Dem Alison McInnes claims that the decisions on stop and search and firearms officers were not purely "operational" and the justice secretary must have had a say.

Your views

Tony Taboureau: Salmond blames Westminster for everything. He left there as a not fit for purpose MP with bulging pockets. #charlatan #fmqs

GAZ HAY: According to Scots Labour, no organised criminals walk the streets. Not only have they lost the left, they've lost the plot. #fmqs