Adrian Binsted, Editor

Message from the Editor

Tetra Pak

FTR’s June Issue 2013, page 403, ‘Appy Drinks’ Nickelodeon characters juice range’ article, is one example of how Tetra Pak is tackling recycling.

More and more people are talking about food waste and how to resolve the problem. Both the food industry and the supermarkets, as well as food distributors are dealing with the problem rather well.

If food manufacturers have mislabelled product or have underweight or overweight rejected product then these can often be recycled, relabelled, or repackaged in their own factories. Other products and overstock, subject to certain parameters, are donated to charities working with the needy.

Some food factories and some larger supermarket sites already have their own anaerobic digesters or they have regular collections by the waste and recycling industry.

Agriculture, by and large, uses its own waste for feedstock, for spreading on the land, or again using anaerobic digestion to create their own electricity or heating.

People tell us that there are millions of tonnes of food wasted in the UK every year. This is hardly correct as so much already has a ‘home’.

I believe that the great fear for our industry is that the academics will spend their time and use Government funds researching unnecessarily, and the politicians will debate incessantly, without either listening to the experts working in our own industry who are already solving the problems of excessive food waste.

Our industry does not create food waste for fun as that costs money and wastes time; so leave us in peace to get on with our research and our projects without even more legislation.

Adrian Binsted, Editor

Message from the Editor

The topic of the moment is food sustainability, which by any other name, is how to feed an expanding world population. Part of the challenge is to improve the nutritional composition, the quality and the quantity of food from agricultural sources and to prevent the enormous post harvest losses in so many countries due to pests and to lack of transport infrastructure.

What is being discussed at the moment are the breeding technologies for grains and oil seeds; how to create new crops using traditional grafting and cross pollination techniques. Let us explore the future of genetically-modified crops which can give such huge increases at harvest; their safety in the food chain; How the wider use of these foods can be properly explained to consumers, is currently entertaining the minds of those much more knowledgeable than myself.

We do not want another fiasco as we had with irradiated foods when certain forms of food poisoning could have been wiped out at a stroke. except for the appalling publicity put out by misinformed people in the 1960s, and propagated by the mass media at the time: The ramifications are still with us today.

We have to continue with the steps being undertaken by the scientific community to create new test methods for the authentication of foodstuffs and their ingredients in the whole supply chain. We must find new analytical methods to prove provenance beyond doubt to assuage the curiosity of people encouraged by the mass media and by TV cooks.

We must find new methods to stamp out locusts, and to eradicate weeds and bacteria in our universal agricultural crops today, so that people can eat tomorrow. I go back to my mantra: Let the scientists get on with expanding out harvests, take the politicians, the quangos and the do-gooders out of the equation, so that our industry, the largest industry and the largest industrial employer in the UK, can help to provide good, nutritious food to feed the world in the coming years.

Adrian Binsted, Editor

Message from the Editor

Spooner

Our poor old food industry has been battered by every conceivable problem in recent months. Fair criticism is one thing, inaccurate, head-line grabbing comments are another, written by people who do not understand our industry, neither do they seek to find the answers. This attitude of whole parts of our broadcast and news media has damaged our industry in the eyes of the consumer.

Sorting out the urgent problem of origin marking will take time because National, European and International politicians need to make decisions. Sorting out the proliferation of what is required on labels, currently too complex and little understood by all but the most dedicated of shoppers, will take time. Simplification of wording to what is necessary will take more legislation, hopefully drawn together carefully across many countries and without political bias.

We, in the food industry, our subscribers, advertisers and those providing us with technical news must start thinking positively about our achievements and project those thoughts on our customers, our Nation. This great country of ours invented much of food technology and gave it to the world. Canning started here, quick-freezing, although developed for the US Army during the first world war, burgeoned and grew here in the UK, our biscuits are exported throughout the world, and thanks to great companies like Baker Perkins and Vicars (who invented ‘hard-tack’ for the Navy out of their Liverpool bakery in the 1820s) and Spooner, British biscuits are baked on British machines throughout the world. The examples are too numerous to mention here, but let us start the ball rolling to project the safety of the food we produce.