Niamh Murphy recently attended the 2016 Government Chemist Conference held at the Royal Society, London. In the article below, Niamh describes her work, as well as providing an overview of her visit. 

Funding for this visit was provided under the Training and Mobility Funding Programme. More information on the programme is available here.

Brief Biography
I am currently employed as an Executive Analytical Chemist at the Public Analyst’s Laboratory, Dublin. I act as an approved examiner of food, in an official laboratory, under EU food law. My role involves testing for additives and contaminants in foods and also the development and validation of new analysis methods. I am also currently involved in the authenticity testing for suspected fraudulent spirit drinks samples.

Visit Aims & Objectives
The aim of the visit was to attend the 2016 Government Chemist Conference, the theme of which was ‘Science supporting trust in food’. I previously attended the Government Chemist Conference in 2008 and found it to be very informative and relevant to the work of this laboratory.

Purpose & Relevance
The conference was of interest to all involved in ensuring the safety, quality and authenticity of food. The purpose of my attendance at the conference was to gain an up-to-date insight into current food fraud and safety issues, to determine areas for future focus in the laboratory and to subsequently share this information with my colleagues.

The conference, in addition to including presentations on the themes of authenticity, safety and fraud in the food supply network also provided an important networking opportunity for me, as a participant, to meet and connect with others who have an interest in food safety. I enjoyed meeting and discussing current food safety issues with colleagues from Public Analyst’s Laboratories in the UK. I also had the opportunity to meet with Michael Walker, whose presentation on Government Chemist referee casework outcomes I found particularly relevant.

Transfer of Knowledge
I will circulate presentations from the conference once they become available online. I have also circulated information amongst my colleagues on the benefits of joining groups such as The Food Authenticity Network and The Association of Public Analysts.

Added Value & Realised/Anticipated Benefits of Visit
My attendance at this conference will benefit my organisation in the future as contact has been made with several other agencies involved in food safety. This will provide more opportunities for discussion and sharing of current and emerging food safety issues.

Conclusions & any Recommendations
I found the Training and Mobility Programme very beneficial. I am very grateful that my attendance at this very worthwhile event was facilitated by the programme. I would highly recommend the programme to others.

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