What is the Virtual Food Safety Group?
Some time ago a number of Members volunteered to join the Institute’s Virtual Food Safety Group (VFSG). I’m sorry that it has taken longer than we expected, but we’re now ready to move the Group forward. VFSG will provide an informal platform for members to discuss food safety topics and inform the Institute’s thinking on food safety matters. Our office bearers and staff will use the Group to gather information, advice and opinions. It will not replace, or compete with, SFELC or the food liaison group structures.

The Group will operate via the REHIS website. General discussions will continue in the food safety and food standards forums. We will also be able to use the Working Groups area of the website to post documents and open discussions on them. The REHIS office will send e-mail messages to highlight particularly significant new discussion topics which have been opened. However, we do not want to bombard inboxes and expect most traffic to be from members regularly browsing the forums to see “what’s new”. We are obviously keen to generate more general use of the forums facility.

This is all a bit of a leap in the dark for the Institute, so I’m really pleased to report that Christine Morrison, a REHIS Council member, has volunteered to be the Group “Guide”. This is not a chairperson or moderator role but Christine will monitor the operation of the Group in order that we can ensure everything works as intended. Christine and I will prime a few discussion topics over the next few weeks but we hope that the Group will become quite self-reliant in the near future.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, VFSG is not a closed membership. We’re starting with a few volunteers to keep things manageable but discussions are not closed and can be viewed, and contributed to, by all members. We will add any other members who wish to join to the VFSG mailing list. Once we are happy that the system works we will actively promote the Group and encourage membership more widely.

I hope this is all reasonably clear. If you have any queries or suggestions please contact the REHIS office or, ideally, post them in this discusion topic.


Paul Bradley