“Getting as many things right as we can within the food chain”
Co-chair at New Food’s recent Food Fraud to Food Integrity conference Professor Chris Elliot reviews the event.
When the New Food team and I discussed the concept of moving from food fraud to food integrity at this year’s conference, we knew we were taking a risk. However, after two years of discussing food fraud, I think that our decision to move the debate forward this year has more than paid off. We did talk a lot about food fraud and criminal activity, but the discussions went much wider and deeper regarding the issues that must be put right in our global food supply system. It is clear we have to look to how other industry sectors deal with fraud and criminals and that we can learn valuable lessons from those sectors. The scientific tools for detecting fraud are getting better, but there is still a huge amount of work to be done to ensure they generate reliable data.
The conference’s session on modern-day slavery sent a shudder down my spine, as it did, I know, for many of our delegates. The scale of what is going on is horrendous and if we are to have a food system based on integrity in the future, there is much work to be done today. I firmly believe the UK food industry and regulators are up for this challenge.
During the conference, we also heard about Foundation Earth, the brainchild of Denis Lynn from Finnebrogue. He and his team made a compelling case for getting as many things right as we can about how our food is produced, and for informing consumers so that we can all make sustainable choices based on fact and not marketing blurb.
I truly believe that our next conference will deal with all these topics in more detail and with more rigour. Having a more informed and engaged community can only stand us all in good stead for the future. We are now discussing the agenda for this next conference and asking ourselves what new challenges our food supply system will face. I very much hope you will join us at the 2020 conference and contribute to the big debate about our food.