Food Inspection: Are the professionals ready?

Effective food inspection is inextricably linked to an inspector’s understanding of the core hazards associated with individual foods. Although spoilage can usually be determined through a simple organoleptic assessment, the judgment of whether a food is fit for human consumption requires a deeper evaluation of the health hazards.

Madeleine Smith, reader in food safety at University of Birmingham, says “The spectacular development of the food industry in the past 40 years has provided new challenges and opportunities in the area of food inspection. It is important that the training of inspectors reflects these developments.”

In 1993, Madeleine qualified as an environmental health officer before working for Birmingham City Council. She joined the University of Birmingham in 1997 to provide the professional practice element to the MSc in Environmental Health. Since then Madeleine has designed and developed a number of postgraduate, undergraduate and CPD courses in food safety, building the Food Safety Group up to its current level. In addition to award-bearing courses, the group offers specialist short courses to competent authorities in the UK and overseas as well as to the food industry.

We are delighted to announce that Madeleine will be speaking at Highfield’s Improving Food Safety in a Changing World conference on 13 June at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. In her presentation Are the professionals ready? Current competency and future needs, she will discuss the implications of food inspection evaluations and the necessity for inspectors to understand risk points attributable to complex food supply chains.

Other topics to be discussed at the food safety conference include key challenges and legislative changes as well as media issues and the implications of Brexit, as the food industry comes to terms with ever-greater scrutiny and reputational risk.

Find the full line-up of industry-leading speakers on our website foodsafety2019.highfield.co.uk. Take advantage of the early bird offer and save £55 on the price of your ticket! Early bird offer ends 31 March so don’t delay! Book your ticket here.

Food safety: Food Hygiene Rating Scheme – the drive for transparency

Continuing our series of blogs focusing on the line-up of top industry speakers presenting at the Improving Food Safety in a Changing World conference on 13 June in Birmingham, we spoke to John Barnes, Director at Enmoore Ltd, to find out what topics he’ll be discussing at the food safety conference.

In addition to his role as a Director at Enmoore Ltd, John is also a Strategic Advisor to the Shield Safety Group and a visiting lecturer in food safety at the University of Birmingham. Until 2015 John was Head of Local Delivery at the Food Standards Agency (FSA), and in that same year, was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of The Society of Food Hygiene Technology (SOFHT) for his exceptional contribution to food hygiene and safety.

An environmental health officer by profession, John has extensive experience negotiating and implementing EU food law and chairing international meetings on food safety controls. He was part of the senior FSA team leading the response to the 2013 horsemeat incident and responsible for establishing its Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS).

In his presentation Food Hygiene Rating Scheme – the drive for transparency – current issues, what next? John will discuss how the FSA have pushed for greater openness and transparency since its launch in 2000, seeing this as an effective way to drive behaviour change in the food industry. The FHRS has resulted in a significant improvement in the UK hygiene standard, with calls for a mandatory display in England similar to the arrangements in Wales and NI.

“FHRS has undoubtedly had a major impact on food businesses and significantly improved hygiene standards. Industry can expect continued pressure to improve transparency and information to both consumers and regulators. The presentation will cover the background to this: current FHRS safeguards for businesses, issues with delaying implementation of mandatory display of FHRS in England and what to expect in the near future.” John Barnes.

Find the full line-up of speakers and topics to be discussed at the conference on our website foodsafety2019.highfield.co.uk. Take advantage of our early bird offer and save £55 on the price of your ticket! Early bird offer ends 31 March. Book your ticket here.

Food safety: Regulating our future – key changes for the industry and regulators

This June will see Highfield’s Improving Food Safety in a Changing World conference take place at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. 

And as part of the build up to what promises to be the biggest and best food safety conference in the UK in 2019, we’re profiling our line up of top speakers and looking at what issues and topics they will be discussing.

Michael Jackson is the Head of Regulatory Compliance at the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and has been working full time on the FSA’s Regulating Our Future programme since it was set up in February 2016.  He leads the teams developing the new delivery model for food law regulation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Prior to moving to this programme, Michael was Head of Local Authority Policy and Delivery within the FSA’s Northern Ireland office, where he was responsible for developing a wide range of legislation and policy in relation to food safety and food standards. He has been involved with the development and operation of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme since 2009 and led the project to make the display of ratings at food establishments a statutory requirement in Northern Ireland.

At the conference, Michael will be presenting an update on the progress that the FSA has made to transform the way the food industry is regulated in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, highlighting those developments that are currently being rolled out into the regulatory model that will impact both local authorities and the food industry, and the key priorities for further work in 2019 and 2020.

Michael said, ‘The FSA is committed to transforming the way that the food industry is regulated and our aim is to develop a new model that is modern, risk-based, proportionate, robust and resilient. Throughout the project, we had adopted an open policy, testing our plans publicly with key stakeholders and this even presents an excellent opportunity to discuss progress and next steps’.

The Improving Food Safety in a Changing World conference takes place on 13 June 2019. For more information on the conference or to book your place, go to http://foodsafety2019.highfield.co.uk/