New UK food and environment agency launched
The UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has launched the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA). The Agency will bring together the DEFRA's Central Science Laboratory, Plant Health Division, Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate and the Plant Variety Rights Office and Seeds Division as one agency. It is expected to “significantly strengthen” the DEFRA’s work in plant and crop protection, food chain safety, environmental risk assessment and crises response. It is also expected to remove delays for businesses involved in national and international trade. The FERA officially comes into being on April 1st although it has been operating in a shadow form since April 2008.