Jeff Rooker is to step down as chair of the Food Standards Agency in July 2013.

Rooker took up the role in July 2009 as part of a four-year contract.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the FSA but wanted to be clear now that I will step down when my current contract ends,” he said.

“The FSA is an excellent organisation staffed by people who are passionate about food safety. We work with a range of stakeholders across all four nations who share that passion and that makes the role of chair a fascinating one.”

He added that he had two priorities before stepping down in the summer – to see all local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland using the Food Hygiene Rating scheme and in Scotland using the Food Hygiene Information Scheme; and to create a new food body for Scotland.

“We have made incredible progress in getting local authorities signed up to these schemes and it gives me great pleasure to see the distinctive stickers proudly on display the length and breadth of the land,” he said. “I’d also like to press the argument that the display of FHRS/FHIS ratings should be made mandatory, as it is likely to be in Wales from 2013.”

On the Scottish food body, he added: “That process will take some time, but it is vital that the interests of consumers in Scotland continue to be protected during the transition. I will ensure that happens.”