We were pleased to host the IFST Lecture on 2 July 2019 at SSERC in Dunfermline, Scotland. The live streaming of the lecture by Professor Mike Gibney, Emeritus Professor of Food and Health, University College Dublin on ‘Ultra-processed foods: The science and the policy’ was hotly anticipated by all attendees. Following this we had David Thomson, CEO of Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Scotland talk to us about ‘Processing and policy – the challenges’.
The evening started with Prof Gibney introducing the topic and asking questions as he began his talk. We were impressed by his analytical approach to the current research on processing of food and drink, and its effects on health. Prof Gibney spoke about the relationship between sugars, fat and salt, and then attached the NOVA classification, rightly so. He ended his talk expressing that ultra-processed foods were not the issue, but the clarification of what is healthy and what is not is. Interestingly, the lecture allowed a lot of debate to be had and this was interesting to observe not only in London, but also in Scotland.
We then had a quick break, and David started his lecture explaining about the governmental policies and their effects on health and industry. It was interesting to see that FDF Scotland and the Scottish Government share similar goals, in terms of raising the productivity and income generation of the food and drink industry, but have a different outlook when it came to over policing the sector.
The evening ended, and we were treated to a buffet and drinks, where we could take the debate forward. Overall, it was a great, well run event. Our thanks to the tireless efforts of Alastair MacGregor, CEO of SSERC who provided their events space and organised the catering, and key members of the Scottish Branch for their continued presence and help. Well done to the IFST team for the wonderful and insightful lecture.