Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries: Scientific Advisor
The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries had a scientific advisor for the agricultural aspects of his portfolio, who reported directly to him on matters relating to scientific aspects of agriculture and horticulture, including liaison with the Ministry of Health and the Medical Research Council, and work related to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation. The scientific advisor had no supporting divisional staff.
Ministry of Food: Chief Scientific Advisor's Division
The origins of this division lay in the appointment on 1 February 1940 of a scientific advisor to the ministry, Dr J C Drummond, for the purpose of co-ordinating scientific information and providing advice and assistance on scientific problems arising in any part of the ministry. His small supporting staff, which was attached to the General Division, acted purely in an advisory capacity and undertook no research. In 1947 the Scientific Advisor's Division was reconstructed on a permanent basis, and now reported direct to the permanent secretary. In addition to providing scientific advice it also began to take part in active research in the application of scientific knowledge on food matters, as opposed to long-term research which was the responsibility of the Food Investigation Board of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. Subsequently the division acquired other functions, particularly in relating to nutrition, and comprised sections dealing with nutrition, food technology, food defence, and the economics of food distribution in addition to information, statistics and central sections. Amongst its responsibilities was the experimental factory working on food dehydration, established in Aberdeen.
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food: Scientific Advisors
In 1955 following the merger with the Ministry of Food, the new Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food took over the former Ministry of Food's Chief Scientific Advisor (henceforth the Scientific Advisor (Food)) and his staff unchanged as its Scientific Advisor's Division (Food), but with the addition of a consulting engineer. Its principal function remained to provide scientific advice to the minister on such matters as food technology, nutrition, food distribution, food economics and statistics, innovative foodstuffs and methods of food processing and food defence matters, but with time the scientific staff came to be involved in wider aspects of the Ministry's work. The title of the agricultural scientific advisor was amended to that of Chief Scientific Advisor (Agriculture). In 1960 the Scientific Advisor's Division (Food) was disbanded and the staff formed into a Food Science and Atomic Energy Division, leaving the two scientific advisors (for food and agriculture) to report directly to the minister, and without divisional responsibilities.
The Food Science and Atomic Energy Division was renamed the Food Science and Plant Safety Division in 1962, those staff dealing with atomic energy matters having transferred to the Emergency Services Division. The scientific staff were then in sequence part of Food Science and Safety Division (1964-1965); Food Standards, Science and Safety Division (1965-1970); Food Standards and Science Division (1970-1972) and the Food Science Division (1972-1973).
In 1973 the chief scientific advisors were once again given departmental responsibility for their scientific staff when a separate Chief Scientist's Staff group was established, consisting of the Food Science Division and a new Research and Development Requirements Division. The former continued to operate in the traditional areas of providing advice on food and agriculture matters (including the use of atomic energy in food), while the latter was responsible for the co-ordination and execution of the ministry's research and development programme. This was conducted in part by the ministry's own research laboratories and stations, in part by the scientists in the group, but also by outside laboratories, it having been ministry policy for some time to have as much as was possible of its research work done under contract by outside experts. In 1976, a separate Scientific Liaison Staff section was created in the Chief Scientist's group with specialists to cover developments in such fields as animal husbandry, food science, horticulture, plant science, fisheries and engineering and farm buildings. In 1987, the group was split in two, dealing on the one hand with food and fisheries, and on the other with agriculture and horticulture (a division that had progressively grown within the liaison staff). The Chief Scientist's Group (Fisheries and Food) consisted of the Food Science Division, the relevant scientific liaison officers and four food standards units. The Chief Scientist's Group (Agriculture and Horticulture) consisted of the Research and Developments Requirements Division and a separate group of Scientific Liaison Staff.
In 1989, the Chief Scientist's (Fisheries and Food) Group was renamed the Food Science Group, the Food Science Division dividing into Food Science Division I (charged with the provision of scientific advice on which to base food policy) and Division II (dealing largely with matters of food quality, packaging and nutrition). The Chief Scientist's (Agriculture and Horticulture) Group carried on unaltered, while a separate Chief Scientist's Group (Fisheries) was established. From this time, while the agriculture and fisheries groups continued to report directly through the Chief Scientist to the Permanent Secretary, the Food Science Group no longer came under the control of the Chief Scientist and instead reported through a deputy secretary. In 1990 the Food Science Group assumed responsibility for the management of the Food Science Laboratory in Norwich and the Torry Research Station in Aberdeen.