FSA mill visit
In late September, UK Flour Millers staff and the CEO and chair of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) visited the Whitworth Bros’ Whitley Bridge mill.
The tour, facilitated by WW Bros managing director, Mike Peters; and technical manager, Steve Greatbatch, was a great success.
In addition to gaining an understanding of the milling process, the FSA officials came away with the impression UK flour mills were clean, modern and efficient, utilising the latest technology to ensure flour is food-safe.
The tour also provided an opportunity to update officials on the food safety issues that currently matter most to millers, such as allergens, flour microbiology and the FSA approach to regulating chemical contaminants such as mycotoxins.
Campden BRI microbiology conference
UK Flour Millers presented at this year’s “Hot Topics in Microbiology Conference” at Campden BRI.
The presentation covered the pathogen Shiga toxin-producing E.coli (STEC) and risks for flour. STEC is a pathogen that can cause significant illness and its presence in flour has been implicated in a number of food safety incidents, predominantly in the USA and Canada, but more recently a food safety incident affecting frozen pizzas in France.
The presentation covered the publicly available data on STEC in flour, which shows UK flour has a low rate compared to flour from other European countries such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
This difference is not fully understood, although could be due to high farm storage standards and high levels of mill hygiene in the UK.
Another explanation could be the types of flour surveyed, as wholemeal flours are more popular in some European countries and could have a greater risk of STEC contamination. Members can download a copy of the slides here.
75 years of the London & South East Milling Society
The London & South East Milling Society (LSEMS) held its 76th AGM, celebrating 75 years of the society, 21 Arlington Street this month.
The president, Daren Wade, provided a report of the year’s work, highlighting the tours to unique manufacturing facilities that had been arranged, such as the visit to the new Colman’s mustard factory in Norwich.
Nick Hinton reflected on the society history from its inception, covering the various pubs at which meetings used to be held, as well as the personal and professional value the society had provided him and other members over the years.
A report of the work of UK Flour Millers was also given, on a somewhat less positive note, highlighting the difficult business environment for food businesses in the UK as raw material and energy costs continue to skyrocket.