The annual food update, hosted by Martin Keeley, was held on Wednesday 18 September at the Holiday Inn, Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh and was a great success.

The event included speakers on a range of topical issues which all impact on the day to day work of anyone working in fields of food business inspection, auditing or enforcement as well as those providing training to food handlers.  From the “big picture” sense, Fiona Richmond of Scotland Food & Drink gave an overview of Scotland’s food and drink industry and desired growth in this area.  The growth of the industry is obviously dependant on business acting safely, complying with legislation and delegates at the event ensure this is the case though various lines of work.  

Karen Robertson and Steven Hendry form Food Standards Scotland (FSS) provided an overview of the current status of the Official Control Regulations (OCR) and allergen labelling respectively.  With the postponed Brexit situation the OCR Regulations will enter into force.  The different approach by FSS, to allergen labelling, to our colleagues south of the border was explained.

Col Baird from the Scottish Government provided an update of the progress with Restricting In-Store Promotions of Foods High in Fat, Sugar or Salt, a key public health topic for the Scottish Government and one which aims to address Scotland’s poor diet.

REHIS’s own Jane Bunting talked through the new REHIS Elementary Nutrition course and professionals are encouraged to promote this while visiting/inspecting/auditing business to enable those businesses to increase their knowledge of nutrition and assist to improve the diet and health of the nation.  Jane also highlighted valuable sources of CPD that professionals can complete for their own personal and professional development.

Pat Smyth of FSS and Graeme Corner of the Scottish Food Enforcement Liaison Committee and Highland Council closed the day by talking through the many, many challenges of Brexit in relation to the importing and exporting of foods.  The outcome of Brexit negotiations, in particular should there be ‘no deal’, will clearly have a significant impact on the food industry as a whole including the food enforcement community.

Overall the day was very well received by delegates with feedback indicating the event was varied, interesting and informative.  A copy of the speaker’s presentations are available on the members only section of the REHIS website