Fine, who joined the FSA from Sainsbury's in 2004, cut a controversial figure in the industry as she championed the agency's Nutrient Profiling Model and traffic-light labelling. She will retire in April in a move described by the agency as "separate but significant" to restructuring moves announced this week.
As part of the restructuring, FSA chief scientist Andrew Wadge has announced his intention to step down as director of food safety. He will continue working for the agency part-time, allowing the creation of a new role of director of policy, combining the consumer choice and food safety functions. The agency is also creating a director of operations role, replacing several currently vacant directorships.
Industry sources suggested the restructuring reflected changing priorities under new chairman Lord Rooker. "Dame Deidre Hutton drove quite a strong consumerist agenda," said one. "Lord Rooker has been clear from the outset he sees the agency's focus as food safety. Delineating operations and policy makes it easier to separate the roles and look at the FSA's priorities."
Others suggested the move aligned the future direction of the FSA under a change of government. Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley has publicly said he wants to create a Department of Public Health, separate to the Department of Health, which would take on many policy areas currently overseen by the FSA.