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Lord Haskins key speaker at national food chain conference

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Former chairman of Northern Foods Lord Haskins has been announced as the key industry speaker at a major national conference being staged in the wake of the horsemeat crisis.

‘Assuring the Integrity of the Food Chain’ takes place next Wednesday (April 24) – during Great British Beef Week – and is the first conference to be held in the aftermath of horsemeat being found in products labelled as beef.

More recent food revelations, such as the mislabelling of fish, have thrown open the whole food supply chain to scrutiny, making next week’s conference even more significant.

Lord Haskins was chairman of Northern Foods for 16 years and in 2001 he was the then Government’s ‘rural tsar’ at the height of the foot and mouth disease epidemic.

At the conference, Lord Haskins will highlight the importance of the traceability of food to consumers and how the food industry has to strike the right balance between assuring the integrity of the food supply chain and adding cost.

Speaking ahead of the event Lord Haskins, who farms in East Yorkshire, said:

The whole issue of protecting the food supply chain has been building in the last few weeks and isn’t going away. The conference will generate a much-needed discussion among all those involved in the food industry as to how we win back consumer confidence – and quickly.

LEP board member David Kerfoot said:

This debate comes at a hugely important time for the UK food and drink industry which is the largest manufacturing sector in the country. We’re delighted to be joined by Lord Haskins who has considerable experience and expertise in the industry and whose views will help facilitate an important and productive discussion.”

Also speaking at the high-profile event are representatives from Defra and the Food Standards Agency. They will be joined by European experts including Petter Olsen, a senior scientist at the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fishery And Aquaculture (Nofima), and Hermann Broll from the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Germany.

The conference will establish the current UK perspective on the horsemeat fraud before moving on to look at the role of the FSA and local authorities in assuring food safety and integrity. Importantly, it will address key issues around meat speciation and the use of integrated verification measures in supply chain management to assure product integrity.

The food and drink industry is the single largest manufacturing sector in the UK, with a turnover of £72.8 billion, accounting for 15 per cent of the total manufacturing sector. 440,000 people are employed in food manufacturing in the UK.

For further information on the programme and speakers please visit:  http://assuringtheintegrityofthefoodchain.eventbrite.co.uk/

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