Campden BRI targets microbiological skills gap

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

Constantly evolving threats posed by food germs must be fought with effective training, Campden BRI claims
Constantly evolving threats posed by food germs must be fought with effective training, Campden BRI claims

Related tags: Sisters food group, Food and drink, Campden bri

Tesco, Sainsbury and 2 Sisters Food Group are among the firms contributing to a report published by Campden BRI designed to tackle the lack of training to fight microbiological food contamination.

The food science institute’s head of membership and training Bertrand Emond said it was “very concerning” ​that many of its members were reporting a lack of practical experience in microbiologists, technologists and managers.

The problem even affected some employees that were already established in the field, he added.

Gayna Quinn, group technical director at meat processor Tulip, said the skills gap was partly caused by the fact that the world was constantly throwing up fresh challenges.

‘Additional challenges’

“… Changes in the use and storage of food materials, together with global sourcing and the impact of climate change mitigation are placing additional challenges on the control of microbiological risks …

“This means that now, more than ever before, we need to invest in microbiological training to up-skill existing employees and lay the foundations of good working practice for the next generation.”

Numerous experienced food and drink microbiologists were either leaving or retiring from the industry, or their roles were expanding to include other responsibilities, she said. As a result, there was “a real concern that much of the applied industrial microbiological skills base is being eroded”​.

Campden BRI compiled its report, Practical microbiology training needs of the food and drink manufacturing and retail sectors, ​in consultation with retailers and manufacturers. They ranged from Tesco, Sainsbury and Marks & Spencer to 2 Sisters Food Group and Greencore.

Equip training providers

It will be used to inform the development and content of relevant training and related continuing professional development. It would also help equip other training providers to deliver the necessary skills to industry recruits.

“We welcome this report and see it as a significant step forward in improving the microbiological knowledge and skills base for the worldwide food and drink industry,” ​said Margaret McPheat, head of Greencore technical services.

“Focused, specialist microbiological training that equips staff to do their jobs across the diverse range of roles within food manufacture and retailing is not a ‘nice to have’; it is absolutely essential.”

  •  Steve Spice, head of regulatory affairs at Campden BRI, is among the speakers featuring in Food Manufacture​ Group’s one hour webinar Food Information to Consumers Regulation: what you need to know​. The webinar will air on February 20 at 11am and Spice will explain how businesses can prepare for changes to the law. For more information, click here​.

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