The 4th Annual Sustainable Food & Beverage Conference & Expo, 7 November 2017

Dr Theo Hacking, Director of Graduate Programmes, will be speaking at the Annual Sustainable Food & Beverage Conference at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry. Scyphus Director Leslie Carr, writes about Food Safety and a safer Food Industry.

​​Scyphus, a Printed Paper Cup Manufacturer, being part of the food and beverages packaging industry, is in the know how of Food Safety and they have to be on the constant update on subjects and developments related to it. Leslie Carr, director of Printed Paper Cups (a Scyphus Company) writes about it.

The 4th Annual Sustainable Food & Beverage Conference & Expo, 7 November 2017

Experts in the food and drink industry unite in Coventry amidst food insecurity fears

In the quest for a safer food industry, professionals in the sector will be gathering at the 2nd Annual Food and Drink Quality and Safety Summit on the 7th of November 2017 in Coventry. Protecting global food supply has become a key element in the British food industry and experts will be invited to share their knowledge as well as collaborate with players in the sector. This conference, free to attend, is commended amidst the insecure atmosphere looming over the post-Brexit food system, especially as food policy experts warn that Britain is “sleepwalking” into food insecurity.

The need to reinforce the stagnant food industry

Britain’s food system has remained stagnant during the last years and the need to exchange reliable information on all concerned issues was much needed. To awaken the industry, the one-day conference has prepared an agenda packed with experiences and lessons to help attendees ensure consistent quality of products and compliance with safety and quality standards, predict safety breaches, and avoid costly recalls that may trigger massive losses.

The key topics range from combating food fraud to predictive modelling and the use of nanotechnology in food. The speakers are drawn from senior management from well-established food and beverage companies. Attendees will equally have the opportunity to enrich their knowledge on pathogen contamination management, recall and crisis plans, traceability, shelf life extension, protection of brand identity and environmental monitoring amongst others.

All these skills may give a boost to the dormant food industry in Britain as rules of the game in the sector are changing. Indeed, in the absence of a trade deal with the European Union (EU), the country is facing multiple risks regarding the food industry. First of all, the Food and Drink Federation pinpointed that the industry could rapidly face a workforce shortage. Its survey "farm-to-fork" established that 31% of businesses saw EU workers leave the United Kingdom (UK). "Without our dedicated and valued workforce we would be unable to feed the nation," asserted the director-general, Ian Wright.

To make matters worse, a report of the House of the Lords warned that slashing food regulations to strike trade deals would spell disaster. This would pave the way for low-quality food from abroad, such as chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-injected beef from the United States (US).

A conference co-located with other events for attendees to benefit the most

The 2nd Annual Food and Drink Quality and Safety Summit is being held in Ricoh Arena, Coventry together with 8 other events related to the food industry. Delegates will be allowed to move freely between the summits and can enrich their knowledge on topics like sustainability, productivity and continuous improvement, food and drink engineering, IT in the food industry, innovation, logistics and supply chains as well as technology and design in packaging.

Over 2,000 delegates are expected at the one-day conference organized by the leading publication in the food industry, Food and Drink Business Europe. The monthly business magazine has 22 years of experience in the sector and highlights businesses directly responsible in defining the direction of the food and drink industry in Europe as well as worldwide.

Food policy experts warn against food insecurity in Britain

“A Food Brexit: time to get real” is a report published recently by academics from the University of Sussex, the University of London, the Cardiff University and the Science Policy Research Unit, highlighting major challenges facing the post-Brexit UK food system. The academics suggest that the UK food system, closely entwined with EU neighbours, has become highly vulnerable and that structural needs have to be addressed urgently.

The researchers have noted that some astounding complexities are impacting on the food industry and causing chain reactions: for example, poverty is causing both over-consumption and under-consumption, farming is entailing pollution while the quality of food supplies has become drastically uneven.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC), on its side, is raising alarms against a drastic spike in prices in case of the absence of a Brexit trade deal with the EU. Consumers in the UK may end up paying almost 30% more for everyday food items. Until now, grocery price deflation was the norm from September 2014 to December 2016 as reported by market researcher Kantar Worldpanel.

Consumers need to trust the food they buy

The challenges around food safety, affordability, security and sustainability are growing more than ever amidst uncertainties. To ensure that consumers have access to an affordable and healthy diet, and are well-informed about choices they make, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is currently implementing the FSA Strategy 2015-2020, developed after massive evidence as well as interactions with consumers and stakeholders were gathered.

“It is the responsibility of people producing and supplying food to ensure it is safe and what it says it is,” highlights the FSA in the document. As such, the independent government department is watching closely that businesses step up to their responsibilities.

Displaying of hygiene ratings on doors mandatory

Amidst insecurities looming over the British food industry right now, the Local Government Association (LGA) is also advocating for the improvement of hygiene standards following Brexit. The association is urging the Government to reinforce EU laws regulating food safety and make the display of hygiene ratings on doors mandatory. In Wales and Northern Ireland, businesses are required by law to display their ratings while such is not the case in England.

To further protect consumers from unsafe food, the LGA is proposing that businesses in the food industry such as cafes, pubs, takeaways, restaurants, sandwich shops, delicatessens and even supermarkets should be fined or prosecuted in case of failure to comply.

Reports have shown that about 30,000 out of 460,000 businesses in the food industry, that is, 6.4%, had failed sanitary inspections. This figure includes more than 7,000 takeaways and 8,000 restaurants. Food providers are actually ranked by the FSA with a score of zero to five. Approximately 1,400 businesses currently have a rating of zero which is, understandably, a failing grade.

Source: Scyphus, UK