IFST SC21 - Smart Regulatory Event Highlight

This event highlight covers the sixth session of our IFST Spring conference 2021 (SC21) food science and technology Thinking Smart, Acting Smart

The theme of this session was 'Smart Regulatory' within the food and drink sector. Opening this session, Dr Jacqui McElhiney, Head of Science at Food Standards Scotland, outlined a partnership approach to regulating the food chain in Scotland. Jacqui explained how the new regulatory strategy will be delivered through six strategic goals, acknowledging that ‘’Collaboration will absolutely key to delivering these goals’’. Jacqui provided us with an overview of three deliverable goals for the new regulatory strategy and commented on the lessons learnt from the Scudamore report. Furthermore, Jacqui discussed how their partnership with the Scottish Food and Enforcement Laison Committee (SFELC) has enabled Food Standards Scotland to ‘’work with local authorities to roll out guidance quickly and monitor how it was applied to ensure consistency’’. 

Next, we listened to Su Dakin, Head of Food Safety and Quality at British Sugar, discuss opportunities for temperature-controlled storage and distribution within the food sector. In this presentation, Su introduced the new food safety guidance shortly to be published by the Cold Chain Federation (CCF). Su reflected on her experience of writing the new guidance, commenting that ''The devil is in the detail. When I started to look at the accepted practices in the sector, some of them really stood out as food safety anomalies’’. Su’s presentation focused on three specific opportunities for the application of innovative thinking and technology within food safety practices. This included opportunities for vehicle and cold storage bay design, the accepted storage temperature for frozen food, and food security in the cold chain. Su shared that ‘’the most energy-efficient system is a constant and consistent temperature’’.

For the third and final presentation of this session, Jeremy Whinnett head of professional services at 4 pack, provided us with insight into how we can simplify and mitigate the risks of food labelling with dynamic artwork. He commented on the growing demand for information from consumers, explaining that ‘’Two of the biggest areas that are having an impact are social media and the changing face of consumers’’. Jeremy also highlighted why packaging artwork is critical for compliance, pointing out ‘’recalls due to incorrect labelling continues’’ and ‘’allergen information increasingly under spotlight’’. To conclude, Jeremy explained how dynamic artwork can be used to ‘’reduce the risk of label-driven recalls’’ and ‘’introduce another layer of refinement for product data information in the artwork process’’.

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