6 December 1996

Food safety threatened

WHILE Scotland is still immersed in a huge food poisoning outbreak linked to cooked meat, a leading scientist has warned that future food safety research could be jeopardised by government spending cuts.

Prof Alan Malcolm, director of the Institute of Food Research, the UKs leading independent food safety research establishment, fears that the funding IFR receives from MAFF will be slashed by 25% next year.

As part of last weeks budget, MAFF announced that the extra £12m allocated to BSE research next year would have to be found from savings in other non-BSE research and development work.

But Prof Malcolm insists that a 25% cut in IFRs funding from MAFF, worth £1.8m, would affect the institutes ability to deliver the food safety research that consumers, regulatory authorities and the industry need.

An official added that a quarter of IFRs overall budget came from MAFF. And the cuts would lead to the loss of up to 60 jobs.n