Higher & Degree Apprenticeships for Food Engineers – Employer Consultation Event

The University of Lincoln’s School of Engineering and National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM) will be hosting an employer consultation held at NCFM’s Holbeach campus on Monday 26th March 2018.

This consultation event is looking to help shape the proposed content and mode of delivery of two potential new programmes, BSc (Hons) Food Engineering and Foundation Degree in Food Engineering, hoped to launch in September 2018 at the University of Lincoln.

The event will be held at the University of Lincoln's Holbeach campus

The event will be held at the University of Lincoln’s Holbeach campus

We would very much appreciate the input and direction of experienced engineering managers, HR managers and so on, to join us.

The agenda can be viewed here

If you would like to find out more about Higher and Degree Apprenticeships for our sector or take part, please phone 01406 493000 or email Jean Ward: jward@lincoln.ac.uk

Dr Crewe to attend Microbiology Society Annual Conference 2018

On Tuesday 10th – Friday 13th April 2018, the Microbiology Society is holding its Annual Conference at Birmingham’s International Convention Centre.

As Champion for the society, Dr Nicola Crewe, Senior Lecturer in Food Microbiology at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing has been invited to attend the conference to help support the organisers with the smooth running of the event. Dr Crewe will also be attending sessions during the conference, which will include talks and poster presentations on areas such as microbial diversity, host-pathogen interactions, synthetic ecology and microbial infection.

Image credit: Dr Nicola Crewe

Image credit: Dr Nicola Crewe

Image credit: Dr Nicola Crewe

Image credit: Dr Nicola Crewe


In addition, Dr Crewe will be on hand to support the pre-conference session on Teaching Microbiology in Higher Education on Monday 9th April, 2018, which will be a great opportunity to meet others working in this area of pedagogy, and discuss and disseminate innovative teaching practices.

Dr Crewe said: “With over 20 years of involvement with the Microbiology Society, I am thrilled to once again be able to support their activities and ensure that the latest microbiological knowledge and advances can be disseminated to a wide audience.”

You can join the discussions on Twitter using #MicroBio18

Empack 2018 to showcase OAL and University’s collaborative packaging technology

On 28th February and 1st March 2018 the packaging technology event, Empack, will return to the NEC Birmingham.

Industry professionals and retailers will gather to discover the latest technological advances in packaging, from logistics to transit and robotics and automation.

Olympus Automation Ltd. (OAL) will showcase APRIL EYE- an intelligent date code verification system created in a bid to cut food waste in the supply chain.



The system was developed in partnership with the University of Lincoln in a retailer led initiative, APRIL EYE uses AI to read back and verify date codes, preventing product recalls related to the incorrect application of date codes. In removing human error from the supply chain, this technology will hope to reduce food waste related to the incorrect date coding of products.

You can book your place at Empack online.



Research on safety of imported nuts and seeds featured by IFST

Research by Dr Bukola Onarinde, Principal Lecturer at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing has been featured in the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST). The original article can be found here.

“In the past people have considered that low moisture foods are safe to eat without any problem due to their low water activity and inability to support microbial growth. Recently over the past two decades however, low moisture products such as nuts, seeds and spices are increasingly been associated with product recalls and foodborne outbreaks due to contamination by pathogens such as Salmonella spp. and Escherichia coli. A few examples ofoutbreaks relating to nuts and seeds are presented in Table 1.

The awareness of the potential of nuts and seeds as vehicles for transmission of pathogens has also risen due to several reported cases of food poisoning and product recalls publicised in the media. Also the number of alerts (Table 2) and border rejections (Table 3) relating to some imported low moisture products gives warnings about the vulnerabilities that the low moisture product industries have regarding microbial contamination.

In order to ensure the safety of imported food products generally, there are steps taken prior to importation at the country of origin, at the point of entry into the country receiving the products and beyond. Among such steps is conducting microbial and chemical analysis of samples of the product at the point of entry to assess safety of the product.

While port-of-entry inspections to detect microbial and non microbial contaminants help to flag a few potential hazards in the imported products, relying on this one-step does not ensure the safety of the food product nor does it address the potential for contamination that may go undetected. In addition to port-of-entry inspection, there is a varying degree of quality assurance operating upon business to business level, for example some industries conduct process validation and challenge studies to ensure their thermal and/or non-thermal process is sufficient to reduce/eliminate potential microbial hazards that may be present in the product. While steps are been taking to ensure product safety from point of entry and beyond, there appears to be no organized programs for inspection of overseas facilities for most low moisture imported foods.

Maintaining food safety along the supply chain can be very challenging as food safety problems may arise at any stage of the supply chain, problems may arise at the farm, processing facility, retailers or even in the hands of the consumers. Providing a safe supply chain becomes even more challenging especially for imported products that are sourced from a diversity of small farms around the world. When a processing stage fails, food safety hazards may eventually be passed on to the end of the supply chain, hence it is important to bridge the gap between all stakeholders in the supply chain for safe, hygienically processed and handled food materials.

Contaminations of nuts and seeds most likely occur on the farm (Figure 1) and without adequate processing to mitigate the presence of food safety hazards at the early stage of the supply chain, there is a potential for contamination of the final product. There is a lot of activities carried out to minimize food safety risk beyond the farm stage as mentioned earlier, however very little is done to improve safety at farm stage especially for most low moisture imported foods sourced from developing nations.

From my personal experience, some local farmers (that are part of the supply chain of imported products) are not aware of food safety risk associated with some of their farming practices and what goes on beyond the farm stage. Some of these farmers have minimal or no formal education, they do not have knowledge of Good Agricultural Practice (GAP), HACCP, food safety hazards on farms etc. In my opinion the first step in ensuring the safety of imported low moisture foods should be educating the smallholder farmers especially in the developing countries and putting in place measure to reduce/minimise food safety risk at the farm stage.

The increasing complexity and globalisation of our food supply chains have posed new challenges in ensuring the safety and quality of the low moisture food products. In order to cope with these challenges food safety should begin from the farm stage and continue throughout the supply chain. Protecting the safety of imported low moisture foods requires a comprehensive and coordinated effort throughout the supply chain. Everyone including farmer, farm workers, accumulator, packer, processor, exporter, transported, wholesaler, retailer, government agency, trading companies and the consumers should share the responsibility to safe guard the supply chain of imported foods.

Dr Bukola Onarinde, The University of Lincoln”


NCFM student wins at the SOFHT Student Awards 2017

We are delighted to announce that Sophie Bowers, student and Laboratory Assistant at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM), won a prize at the Society of Food Hygiene & Technology (SOFHT) Student Awards 2017.

Sophie won the Part-time Student / Apprentice in Employment award, which recognised her work on a public advisory poster that helps people to understand recycling symbols and logos on food packaging.

Image credit: SOFHT

Sophie Bowers pictured with a fellow winner Image credit: SOFHT

After joining the University of Lincoln on an advanced apprenticeship scheme as a Laboratory Assistant, Sophie is also in her second year of a part-time Foundation Course in Food Manufacturing at NCFM, which will convert to a BSc in Food Science & Technology in 2018.

Find out more about NCFM online or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


The original post for this article can be found here.