Representing Mr Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary General of the
Muslim Council of Britain, Dr Shuja Shafi, Chairman, Health
and Medical Committee, MCB spoke……………
Sir John Krebs, Dr Al-Dubayan, Respected Guests, Ladies
The creation of the Food Standard Agency is 2000 came at
a time when confidence in food and food safety was at a
low ebb. In principle the aims and objectives of the new
organisation seemed to address most, if not all, matters
of concern. All eyes were on the Agency to see how it fares.
The unenviable task of setting up and leading the Agency
was given to Sir John Krebs. A Fellow of the Royal Society,
Fellow of the Medical Academy of Sciences, Fellow of Pembroke
College, Oxford, Chief Executive of the Natural Environmental
Research Council and a host of numerous other honours and
offices, Sir John had to regain consumer confidence.
Five years on, Sir John is leaving the FSA in April to
another high position to be the Principal of Jesus College
Oxford. In these intervening years, has the organisation
stood up to its stated aim of minimising risk to the community,
building trust, being independent, promoting transparency
in all its activities and above all being accountable?
As consumers, the Muslim community takes an enormous amount
of interest in food standards and food safety.
Islam is a way of life and in it there is guidance for
all aspects of life. Thus we also have dietary laws and
the community is anxious to ensure that food that is consumed
by Muslims conforms to the guidelines of our faith.
To this end we have had regular meetings with MAFF. With
the advent of the FSA we were pleased to see this programme
of engagement with the Muslim community continued.
One theme that has impressed me most during our deliberations
at the Working Group is that in a vast majority of instances
the requirements, principles of regulation and legislation
for mainstream food standards are indeed the same as those
given to us more than 1400 years ago. There are some aspects
that need particular attention and that is what we concentrate
on at the meetings of the Muslim Organisations Working Group
At our regular meeting, we discuss a wide number of issues:
Religious slaughter –is important to us, so yes,
we discuss this at length at the Working Group meetings,
but there are also other important issues such as:
Illegal Meat, scams such as chicken diluted with water,
a host of other mislabelling issues etc
One theme that impressed me most is that in a vast majority
of instances, the requirements, principles of regulations
and legislation for mainstream food standards are indeed
the same as those given to us >1400 years ago.
We are pleased to have the opportunity to discuss these
issues, openly, comprehensively and enthusiastically. If
David Statham and Shahien Zar like challenge, we provide
it in abundance!
We now need to turn our efforts in solving these issues
and I have no doubt that we will achieve this too in not
too distant a future.
We hope your successor will continue to build on the foundation
you have laid.
You want the FSA to connect with the community. You practised
what you preach. It was very encouraging that you personally
went around to convey important messages to the community
– Your visit to the Islamic Cultural Centre to talk
openly, and in a well measured manner about the risk of
BSE in sheep and goats will remind us of how honestly you
portrayed the situation.
We have seen the philosophy of your leadership and commend
it to your successor.
May we take this opportunity to thank you for all your interest
in aspects of the Muslim community? The consumer does truly
regard you as their champion.
Our loss is Oxford University’s gain. Sir John, we
wish you all the very best in your future endeavours.