Members have expertise in a wide range of disciplines including genetic modification, nutrition, microbiology, food technology, toxicology and allergenicity. There are also three lay members: two consumer representatives, who provide a valuable insight into consumer concerns; and an ethicist, who advises on ethical issues relating to new foods and processes, including genetically modified foods.
A number of important changes have been made in recent years in the way in which Government departments are expected to deal with appointments to the advisory committees for which they have responsibility. These principles were set out in the Nolan Committee's Report on Standards in Public Life.
Nolan's main conclusions in relation to non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs), which included advisory committees, were that:
- appointments should be made on the basis of merit, to form committees with a balance of relevant skills and backgrounds;
- responsibility for appointments should remain with Ministers advised by committees including independent members;
- the appointment process should be open and departments should have to justify any departures from best practice;
- job specifications should be published and a wide range of candidates sought;
- it should be mandatory for each NDPB to have a code of conduct for members, and a similar code for staff; and
- a commissioner for public appointments should be appointed to regulate, monitor and report on the public appointment process.
Arising from these principles, all appointments to the ACNFP follow the best practice set in Guidance issued by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.