April 2004 

Food & Health Network Brief

Welcome to F&HN Brief. In this issue we report latest news from F&HN, the Clusters and from IFR. We also describe developments in how F&HN is being managed for members.


Cross-Cluster Meeting

We hope you’ll agree that, to help develop our two-way dialogue, for us to better understand how to facilitate F&HN and maximise the benefits for you, it would be useful to meet together annually. We hope that industry members of our Governing Body, and senior IFR staff responsible for science direction, will be able to attend. The proposal is to have a meeting on 23rd June. Please contact catherine.reynolds@bbsrc.ac.uk as soon as possible – to let her know whether you are (a) interested in the concept (and, if so, whether there are any particular issues you would like us to address (b) free to come on the day and (c) whether you would prefer a meeting in Norwich, London or elsewhere.

Did you know? Carbohydrates can make you fat by shutting down your fat-burning metabolism

Richard Faulks is arranging a meeting at IFR on April 21st to discuss the state of knowledge on carbohydrates, which will help you appreciate the extent to which we could all benefit from eating low glycaemic-index foods. Further information at: http://www.foodandhealthnetwork.com/ in the Members Area.

Talks are ‘Modeling the Glycaemic Response’ (Jack Dainty), ‘Glycaemic Index’ (Geoff Livesey – Consultant, formerly IFR), ‘Carbohydrates and Large Bowel Health’ (Ian Johnson) and ‘Carbohydrates as Prebiotics’ (Jenny Gee).

If you are interested in the topic, but not a member of the Food & Nutrition Cluster, or know of any industry/trade association or similar, non-members of F&HN, who might be interested in attending please let us know, as we can make places available at a reasonable, one-off fee which can be offset if the organisation joins the Cluster, or the F&HN.


More Cluster activity

Predictive Microbiology & Risk Analysis

Members have recently had a ‘Science Special’ update at IFR. Next meetings are scheduled for: Melton Mowbray on 19 July 2004, Thursday 11 November 2004 at IFR, and Wednesday 9 March 2005, possibly in Nottingham. Please contact tim.brocklehurst@bbsrc.ac.uk for information.

Predicting bacterial response

The simple statistical picture presented by disease rates within a community is only part of the food poisoning story; in practice, a strong interplay between consumers, the environment and food is constantly at work. It is just as important to understand the network of the complex interactions between people and food, or dependencies, as it is to quantify individual cause and effects for particular foodborne bacteria.

We have developed a FSA-funded software package - Growth Predictor - to predict microbial growth in food environments; this is freely available to encourage industry use, and supersedes the commercial Food MicroModel. This and other successful downloads are all based on the mathematical model of bacterial growth developed at IFR during the 90’s. They are also linked to ComBase, the most significant international collaborative project in predictive microbiology. The ComBase (combined database on microbial responses to the food environment) initiative has received great interest worldwide, with the IFR scientists who developed its computational and mathematical basis giving several international workshops on its use.


The scheduled date of the next meeting is May 5th 2004. The barriers cluster is currently focused on moisture migration in complex food materials, because of its effect on quality and shelf life. We are carrying out research on the determination of moisture distribution and migration in complex foods, and are seeking to develop research on the fabrication of barriers to control migration. We welcome further participation in the development of this area of research – please contact steve.ring@bbsrc.ac.uk to learn more.

Shelf-life Extension

Two meetings are in the planning stage. The first meeting is on Imaging techniques of use in solving shelf-life problems. Contact david.hibberd@bbsrc.ac.uk for further information.

Waste Utilisation

The TotalFood 2004 conference takes place at IFR on 25th-28th April 2004. If you’ve not already registered please visit the website, check out the programme and make your booking.
Weblink at: www.totalfood2004.com
Contact keith.waldron@bbsrc.ac.uk for further information.


Facilitating the F&HN – Message from Acting Director, Prof. Mike Gasson

“Recent staff changes have prompted some thought about how best to build on the foundation that is in place, and we have asked the Communications Group to take responsibility for F&HN. This reflects the fact that F&HN has a strong Knowledge Transfer (KT) element, and a more general move to build bigger, coherent activity units within our Support team.

F&HN is dependent on the efforts of a group of Cluster Co-ordinators, currently Tim Brocklehurst, Richard Faulks, David Hibberd, Steve Ring and Keith Waldron. Cluster Co-ordinators will continue to be essential to the future success of F&HN. There will be changes in the way that F&HN is positioned; we hope to bring the activity much closer to the science base and build a clearer connection to the science Themes. New publicity material will be available shortly.”


Supporting the F&HN

From the Communications Group

The Knowledge & Society Team, led by experienced PR practitioner and science writer Jo Belsten will manage F&HN. Team members are Dawn Barrett (who leads on event management for IFR), Webmaster and database expert Andy Walker, and IFR’s Graphics & Photography Coordinator, Paul Pople. Secretarial support comes from new appointee, part-timer Lesley Swift. They are advised by Catherine Reynolds, Head of Communications and, in addition we are integrating the efforts of Norwich Research Park-based Consultant Kevan Williams, from IdiomPlus http://www.idiomplus.com/index.html , who is working hard on the industry interface. Contact information is on this Brief and on the website; individual roles will develop as time goes on, but in the short term feel free to contact any of the team for information.

From the Members

Please give us feedback about what you want us to provide and how you want it provided! If you have a burning question, do please ask – we may not know the answer and, you never know, it might lead to a new Cluster or a project proposal to assist your continuing business success.

From the Governing Body

Industry members of our Governing Body in particular, are looking forward to helping the F&HN develop. We’re planning to discuss F&HN with them shortly, and will give you feedback on their views.
Weblink to Governing Body: http://www.ifr.ac.uk/about/GoverningBody.html


Contacts in Communications Group

Membership; event organisation

Website; newsletters

Strategic issues


News from IFR

IFR News published

Go to http://www.ifr.ac.uk/publications/ to read edition 1 of 2004. If you wish to receive a professionally printed copy please let us know at enquiries@foodandhealthnetwork.com

Allergy update

IFR coordinates an EU-funded project to promote the provision of visible, credible food allergy information sources to a wide variety of stakeholders, including general consumers, the agro-food industry (including primary producers, manufacturers and retailers), allergic consumers, health professionals and regulators. The Informall allergy ‘jump station’ (a collection of critically assessed web resources) has just been launched and will become a valuable tool for the identification of quality information covering food allergy.
Weblink to jump station: http://www.ifr.ac.uk/allergy_js/


Food & Health Network
Institute of Food Research
Norwich Research Park
Norwich NR4 7UA UK

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Tel: +44 (0)1603 255000
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Food & Health Network, IFR Enterprises Ltd, Norwich Research Park, Colney, Norwich, NR4 7UA, UK
Email: enquiries@foodandhealthnetwork.com Tel: +44 (0) 1603 255000 Fax: +44 (0) 1603 507723