Institute for Global Food Security – official launch (Thursday 14 March 2013)

Queen’s University Belfast officially launched the Institute for Global Food Security.  The Institute will improve global food security through the establishment of an international ‘food-fortress’ in Belfast.

Keynote speakers included, Mr Phil Clarke (CEO, Tesco plc), Dr Mike Harrington, (Vice President of European and Asia Pacific Operations for the Waters Corporation) plus senior executives from the food industry.

Further information is available through the press release issued by the University, there is also a special QTV report on the opening.


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Safefood Networks Biotoxins Conference

The Biotoxins in food safefood networks held a one day conference on the 29th November 2012 themed around ‘Mycotoxins and plant toxins: Emerging threats and their impact on feed and food safety’ at the Hilton Hotel, Belfast.

World renowned international experts informed delegates of the advances in analytical and screening techniques for mycotoxin and plant toxin detection. 

Programme details, including speakers and topics are available through safefood.

Enquiries on any aspect are welcomed by the Biotoxin Network Facilitator, Prof Chris Elliott,

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Safefood Networks Biotoxins Conference

The Biotoxins in food safefood networks will hold a one day conference on the 29th November 2012 themed around ‘Mycotoxins and plant toxins: Emerging threats and their impact on feed and food safety’ at the Hilton Hotel, Belfast. 

Click here to download the flyer

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IAFLU featured on Select Science

November 2012 – Find out about the cutting edge food safety research conducted at the Institute here.

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ASSET 2014 2nd Food Integrity Tracability Conference

ASSET 2014

ASSET 2014 - 2nd Food Integrity and Traceability Conference (Queen's University Belfast, 8 - 10 April 2014.) For details visit ASSET 2014 Food Integrity Conference.

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ASSET 2011 Conference

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor James McElnay, Danny Kennedy MLA Minister for Employment and Learning, and QSAFFE co-ordinator Professor Chris Elliott.

ASSET 2011

In collaboration with safefood, Queen’s University Belfast held their first major international conference on food safety (21-24 March 2011). The conference concentrated on three key themes:
  • Reviewing recent progress in delivering safe and authentic food to the consumer
  • Identifying the greatest current and emerging threats to the integrity of the agri-food supply
  • Delivering new analytical means of verifying the integrity of the agri-food supply chain

The conference was opened by Danny Kennedy MLA, Minister for Employment and Learning.  Focusing on the key themes, internationally acknowledged experts informed over 200 delegates of key developments in the efforts to provide the world with a safe, sustainable supply of food.

Representatives of science, regulatory bodies and industry from across the world attended the conference.  A second conference will be hosted by the University during 2014.  Details will be announced.


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ASSET PhD student receives prestigious award

ASSET PhD student, Abigail Goodman, who works on Sub-strand 3 of the Project, has been awarded a Young Investigator's Award to participate in the BASIN 2011 conference on the Roles of Stable Isotopes in Water Cycle Research from an abstract submitted in late February entitled ‘Temporal and spatial distribution of δ 18Oand δ2H in precipitation across the island of Ireland: Preliminary observations’.  The award was based on scientific merit and financial need and Abigail was awarded $500 towards travel expenses, conference fees and accommodation.

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Safefood Networks for Biotoxins and Chemical Residues

Management of the safefood Networks for Biotoxins and Chemical Residues was started by a dedicated team from the Institute of Agri Food and Land-Use from the Russell Group member, Queens University Belfast, in 2010. The diverse current and emerging problems associated with production, processing and supply of safe food requires experts from all sectors to engage in multi-disciplinary and cross-jurisdictional relationships. The mission of these networks is to bring together representatives of industry, regulatory bodies and researchers; as a means to encourage collaboration, cooperation, dissemination of information and to evaluate current and future needs across a range of subjects involved in the production of food from farm to fork on the Island of Ireland. A website devoted to each network, annual symposiums, technical workshops, outreach programmes and e-newsletters act as a platform for these networks.  Registration can be completed at

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EU-funded researchers develop toxin test for shellfish
Consumers wary of eating shellfish can breathe a huge sigh of relief.  Scientists at Queen's University Belfast in the UK have developed a new test that makes shellfish read more click here.

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MP Jim Shannon visits IAFLU and ASSET

Simpson Gibson MLA, Professor Chris Elliott, Ms Josephine Morton, Jim Shannon MP.
MP for Strangford, Jim Shannon recently visited the Institute of Agri Food and Land Use, accompanied by Simpson Gibson MLA.  They were brought on a tour of the facilities which included a tour of the ASSET Technology Centre.

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Meat report highlights growth opportunities

Northern Ireland's meat industry must cut costs and boost exports in order to survive in an increasingly competitive international market, according to a new study.

Conducted by the French consultancy Gira and commissioned by Invest NI and the Livestock and Meat Commission, the study highlighted growth opportunities in global markets over the next ten read more click here.

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Fewer UK shoppers act on sustainability concerns

Sustainability has become a mainstream concern for UK consumers but does not necessarily translate into altered shopping behaviours, according to a new survey from The Nielsen Company.

Several market researchers have speculated that 2010 would be the year in which consumers would regain their interest in sustainability – both in terms of the environment and wider ethical choices – as the world begins to emerge from the economic turmoil of the past two read more click here.

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Walsh Fellowship announced

A Walsh fellowship has been announced in collaboration with the Ashtown Food Research Centre.  Please click here for further details.  Closing date for applications is 22 July 2010, or until a suitable candidate is identified.

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Travel Scholarship Awarded

Shauna Devlin

Shauna Devlin, a 2nd year PhD student, has been awarded a travel grant by the Irish Society of Toxicology.  This will enable her to visit the Connell Laboratory at the University of Maine, who are world renowned experts in sensor based detection of toxin producing algae and bacteria. 

This will open up the opportunity to investigate the use of different detection methods to allow the simultaneous detection of Microcystins and Microcystin producing organisms. 

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IST Travel Scholarship Awarded

Caroline Frizzell

Caroline Frizzell, a member of the ASSET research group and a part-time PhD student in IAFLU has recently been awarded a travel scholarship from the Irish Society of Toxicology.

Caroline will attend the Gordon Research Conference on Environmental Endocrine Disruptors, Les Diablerets, Switzerland on 30th May-4th June 2010. Here she will present a poster on her current project which investigates mycotoxins found in food and their potential to act as endocrine disruptors.

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Volcanic ash could pose a threat to food safety
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is investigating potential food safety risks emerging from the volcanic eruption in Iceland.

Food headlines related to the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano in Iceland have so far focused on the air transport chaos and its impact on imports and business travel.  But with smoke still billowing from the volcano, the European Commission has started asking questions about how the ash cloud will affect food safety and animal read more of the article, please click here.

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Queen's announce major International Conference
The Institute of Agri-food and Land Use at Queen's University Belfast have announced that they will hold a major International Conference in 2011 entitled: Food Integrity and Traceability Conference.  This will be the first Conference of its kind to be held at Queen's, and the is due to run from 21-24 March 2011.  To see the flyer for the event, please click here.  Further information relating to the event will be released in due course.

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FDA pressured to combat rising food fraud

The expensive "sheep's milk" cheese in a Manhattan market was really made from cow's milk. And a jar of "Sturgeon caviar" was, in fact, Mississippi paddlefish.  Some honey makers dilute their honey with sugar beets or corn syrup, their competitors say, but still market it as 100 percent pure at a premium read more of this article, click here.

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Prof Elliott and Dr Lei
ASSET say farewell to visiting researcher 

ASSET recently said goodbye to a well respected collaborator who has worked with various members of the ASSET Team throughout the last year.  Dr Hongtao Lei from The South China Agricultural University spent a year working with ASSET researchers on an international grant provided by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.  Dr Lei worked in close collaboration with Prof Elliott, Dr Haughey and Dr Chevalier on a number of highly important food safety projects. The first outcome of this collaboration is the publication of research work on melamine detection in foods in a high ranking international scientific journal. Other publications are likely to follow and a strong link between the two research groups has been formed.  Everyone within ASSET wishes Dr Lei every success in his future.

ASSET member honourded with award
Mr Anthony O'Kane, who works on Sub-strand 2 of the ASSET project has been honoured by the Belfast Media Group's 2010 Belfast Top 40 Under 40.  During a ceremony last week Anthony was recognised for his recent help with fundraising for the Haiti Appeal, where he helped to raise in excess of £40,000.  To view the article please click here .

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Health risks associated with contaminants in minerals

At a round table meeting in the Netherlands organised by Alltech the underexposed subject of issues dealing with (trace) minerals in animal feeds were discussed.  One of the speakers was David Byrne, former EU Commissioner for Health & Consumer Protection, who expressed his view on health risks associated with contaminants in read more click here.

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Minister Smith publishes report of Inter-Agency Review Group established to examine the Dioxin Contamination Incident

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today published the report of the Inter-Agency Review Group, chaired by Dr Patrick Wall, Associate Professor of Public Health at UCD established to examine the dioxin contamination incident, which occurred at the end of read more click here.

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Pork dioxin scare report "whitewash"
The first official report into the Irish pork and beef contamination scare has found that there was no delay in the Irish authorities' read more click here.

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Meat labels causing confusion over source of food
The government is to impose new rules on retailers to stop them labelling food as British, when it is read more click here.

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Dioxin scare firm sues for €36m
A company being sued for €32m over supplying dioxin-polluted animal feed has claimed the product was grossly contaminated by recycled 40-year-old fuel read more click here.

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FDA Chief calls for stronger food safety bill
A bill to overhaul the food safety system needs to be stronger and incorporate more funding, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told a Senate committee hearing on Thursday.

The proposed legislation is the companion bill to the Food Safety Enhancement Act that passed the House back in July, and Hamburg said that she would like to see the Senate version more closely resemble that legislation. Crucially, the Senate bill does not allow the FDA to seize foods that fail to apply hazard analysis and controls as ‘adulterated’, as specified by the read more click here.

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FDA and USDA should cooperate for import safety
The federal government needs to take action to close gaps in the US food safety network, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The report, released at the second annual Global Food Safety Policy Forum in Washington DC, specifically targets the safety of food imports. It said that “gaps in enforcement and collaboration” undermine the efforts of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) to prevent contaminated foods from entering the read more click here.

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£1.8 million investment provides food safety 'asset'

The Department for Employment and Learning has invested £1.8m in a new all-Island research centre to help ensure improved animal heath and traceability.

The Centre for Assured, Safe and Traceable Food (ASSET) was officially opened today at the Agri-Food Conference at Queen’s University.  The £1.8m investment is part of the Department’s ‘Strengthening the All-Island Research Base’ read more click here.

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£2m Food Safety Centre helps companies compete globally

A new £2million Food Safety Centre, employing 20 people and offering direct help to the local £2.4billion agri-food industry was recently launched at Queen's read more click here.

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£2m Food Centre an Asset to Queen's
A £2m food safety centre that has created 20 jobs will be launched at Queen’s University this month.

The centre for Assured, Safe and Traceable Food (Asset) will offer direct help to the local agri-food industry, which generates £2.4bn in sales, creates 2.2% of NI Gross Value Added and employs 12% of the private read more click here.

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Pesticides debate heats up after UK's Food Security Assessment

The European Crop Protection Association has expressed concern that restrictive EU regulation on pesticide use could stand in the way of global food security, following the UK’s Food Security Assessment.

The UK’s Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) published its assessment on Monday, as part of the government’s first major rethink of food strategy since the Second World read more click here.

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Government urges radical rethink to ensure stable food supply

The UK government has called for a radical rethink of food production to secure sustainable food supplies at reasonable prices.

The documents are being published before the government finalises its first rethink of food strategy since the Second World War, due for publication this autumn, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Environment minister Hilary Benn put forward the argument for a reassessment of food supply in economic, public health and environmental read more click here.

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Irish Food Safety System condemned after pork dioxin scandal

The current system for monitoring and tracing Irish pork is inadequate and should be overhauled urgently, a highly critical report from the country’s Parliament has said.

The body’s agriculture committee delivered its damning verdict on Ireland’s food safety systems in the wake of the dioxin contamination of Irish pork products at the end of last year which cost the domestic industry EUR 100 read more click here.

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Probe slams food safety as pork crisis bill hits €200m
Ireland's food safety regime failed 'spectacularly' to prevent the pork dioxin contamination crisis and it will end up costing taxpayers up to €200m in compensation, a damning official report has read more click here

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Northern Ireland gets new food safety centre
NI gets new food safety centre

A new £2m facility which is opening at Queens will screen for contaminated products. The contents of processed food can come from multiple countries which may not have as stringent standards. The Centre for Assured, Safe and Traceable Food is being opened at Queen's University read more click here.

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Traceability and Quality to Meet Expectations
Consumers are expecting more from the products they eat than they used to, writes ThePigSite Senior Editor, Chris Harris.

They expect they food to be safe and they expect it to be produced to exacting standards, Paul van Geldorp, Head of Unit of Bilateral International Relations at the European Commission's Health and Consumers Directorate General, told the recent World Meat Congress in Cape Town, South read more click here.

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Dr Simon Haughey - Moving Feed Forward

Senior Research Fellow Dr Simon Haughey of the ASSET Technology centre, Institute of Agri Food and Land Use, Queen's University Belfast has recently published a very interesting article on "Moving Feed Forward" in Food Safety Magazine's Insider column.

The article is available for download here

The article is also found on the Food Safety Magazine website here

University announces new postgraduate courses in Food Safety

University announces new postgraduate courses in Food Safety.  

Click here for further information.


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