Food industry issues in the media

Professor Hugh Pennington gives excellent lecture

QADEX were delighted to recently host a table at the excellent SOFHT annual luncheon in the Landmark Hotel, London.
The guest lecture was given by Professor Hugh Pennington, professor Penningtons notable achievements in the realm of food safety was the chairing of the e-coli public enquiry.
As an industry we are coming under increasing media scrutiny and when things go wrong the impact on food businesses can be catastrophic.
Professor Pennington gave a very insightful and thought provoking lecture, with a particular focus on e-coli and the role of super shedders.
Cattle that excrete more Escherichia coli O157 than others are known as super-shedders. Super-shedding has important consequences for the epidemiology of E. coli O157 in cattle — its main reservoir — and for the risk of human infection, particularly owing to environmental exposure. Ultimately, control measures targeted at super-shedders may prove to be highly effective. We currently have only a limited understanding of both the nature and the determinants of super-shedding. However, super-shedding has been observed to be associated with colonization at the terminal rectum and might also occur more often with certain pathogen phage types. More generally, epidemiological evidence suggests that super-shedding might be important in other bacterial and viral infections.
To summarise, Professor Pennington commended the industry for all the great work done to reduce food safety risk to consumers but highlighted the brand protection risks facing the industry from media coverage which is often sensational and factually incorrect.