January 21, 2015

21/01/2015: R-Biopharm Rhône cautions on food safety as Scotland celebrates Year of Food and Drink

As Scotland embarks on a year-long programme of events for the Year of Food and Drink, a Scottish-based company at the forefront of food testing has warned of the importance of food safety to one of the country's most vital economic sectors.

R-BiopharmRhône, the manufacturer and Scotland's biggest exporter of diagnostic test kits, was a key food safety player in the horsemeat scandal of 2012 and has been closely involved in a number of other safety issues.


The aim of the Year of Food and Drink in 2015 - backed by the Scottish Government in partnership with Event Scotland, Visit Scotland and Scotland Food & Drink - is to spotlight, celebrate and promote Scotland's natural larder and quality produce.

Nearly 50 percent of people visiting Scotland want to try local food and two-thirds of Scotland's visitors think that quality food is an important factor when deciding where to go on holiday.

The sector employs more than 113,000 people and has a turnover in excess of UK£13 billion. Export sales have surged in recent years and sales of Scotch Whisky, in particular, have rocketed in foreign markets.

Simon Bevis, Managing Director of R-Biopharm Rhône, said: "The Year of Food and Drink is a very welcome initiative and it is incumbent on all participants to be absolutely sure that produce is of the highest quality and that its provenance is traceable and transparent.

"Food safety is vitally important and recent events have illustrated how any lapse in standards can have a disproportionate effect on a sector and wreak enormous reputational damage."

R-Biopharm Rhône earlier this year welcomed the Government's plan to set up a food crime unit - with measures including better intelligence gathering, unannounced audits, improved lab testing capacity and a more investigative approach by the food industry into its supply chain.

The company was in the front line of the UK's defences against food contamination during the horsemeat scandal two years ago, when the Food Standards Agency found beef burgers containing equine DNA, leading to tens of millions of burgers being taken off the shelves by major retailers.

The company is now spearheading investigatory testing as concerns mount about cheap fish being substituted for expensive fish without the consumer knowing.

Carol Donnelly, Marketing Manager at R-Biopharm Rhône, said: "It is of the utmost importance that consumers in the UK can have confidence in the provenance of their food and be assured that the product is actually what it is labelled as."

R-Biopharm Rhône, which is based in the West of Scotland Science Park in Glasgow, now employs 50 people, including 15 research and development scientists and is actively recruiting more production staff.

Visit the website HERE.

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