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The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) was a United Kingdom government department created by the Board of Agriculture Act 1889 (52 & 53 Vict. c. 30) and at that time called the Board of Agriculture, and then from 1903 the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, and from 1919 the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. It attained its final name in 1955 with the addition of responsibilities for the British food industry to the existing responsibilities for agriculture and the fishing industry, a name that lasted until the Ministry was dissolved in 2002, at which point its responsibilities had been merged into the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Until the Food Standards Agency was created, it was responsible for both food production and food safety, which was seen by some to give rise to a conflict of interest. MAFF was widely criticised for its handling of the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (more widely known as mad cow disease) and later the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in 2001. It was merged with the part of the Department for Environment, Transport and the Regions that dealt with the environment (and with a small part of the Home Office) to create a new government department, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in 2001. MAFF was formally dissolved on 27 March 2002, when the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Dissolution) Order 2002 (SI 2002/794) came into force. Source: Wikipedia (en)

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