Society must support members with increasing role responsibility – SOFHT chair

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

©iStock/maselkoo99
©iStock/maselkoo99

Related tags: Food safety, Food

The society must continue to support members who have ever increasing role responsibilities, according to the new chair of the Society of Food Hygiene and Technology (SOFHT).

Ian Booth replaces Alan Lacey, operations compliance manager at Asda, after his two-year tenure. The role started from June and runs for two years.

Booth is quality director UK and Ireland for Martin Brower, the supply chain management specialist within the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) sector.

SOFHT is a consortium of industry specialists to keep members advised of hygiene and technology issues through technical support, training and information as well as a forum for networking and sharing best practice across the food chain.

Adapting to changing roles

Ian Booth SOFHT chair
Ian Booth

“Having graduated in a quality management role focussing on food safety and quality, I have seen my role to encompass areas such as animal welfare, gang master licensing and modern slavery, environment and sustainability and an understanding of social media and the impact on brand protection,” ​he said.

“It is key that we listen to our members and ensure that the training courses and publications produced by SOFHT reflect their needs, although being mindful to keep our core offering. The society is voluntary, and is there to support the food industry.”

Booth has expertise in short shelf life chilled goods, ambient and frozen products across sectors including FMCG, production, food service, supply chain and logistics.

Previous job roles include technical director at Reynolds Catering Supplies and owner/technical consultant at Meadows Booth Consulting.

“The role is voluntary, but as with any board position there is a structure required to ensure the ongoing success of the society,” ​said Booth. 

“Supporting the collaboration of the other council members who bring experience from across the industry, as well as considering new approaches such as the use of social media are important.

“I recognise the impact the society can have, through the network of professionals within the sector, and this must be driven for the benefit of the industry as a whole.

“Headed up by Su Werran (operations director), the SOFHT office is key in providing members support, liaising with the team of voluntary directors and pulling all of the training and events support together.”

He is the longest standing member of the SOFHT council and originally joined as a student member.

Bringing new people into the industry is key, said Booth.

“I still feel that there is a lot more to be completed on raising the awareness of the food industry,” ​he said.

“My nephew is wishing to go into the industry, and I have put together a week work experience within a range of different sectors of food from agriculture, manufacturing, enforcement, service providers, catering and retail.

“In doing so, I realised how diverse the industry was, and what a range of interests it covers. There will be many others that will not get this experience.”

SOFHT Focus and Brexit

Booth had been SOFHT Focus editor from 2009-2011 and acted as vice chair for the last two years.

The editor covers the SOFHT Focus magazine which is a members’ benefit. It includes food safety and hygiene topics, those which may impact food integrity, new products and testing techniques and other subjects which may support the membership with their work.

The autumn edition will look specifically at Brexit.

Booth said he believes in the value of networking and sees SOFHT as supporting members with meeting others in the same industry, as well as bringing those together who have a common area of required understanding.

“Obviously I became chairman within the same month as Brexit, and this will be a focus of my role over the next two years,” ​he said.

“We are also keen to work with regulatory bodies and the FSA, to channel the views of the members who represent all areas of the food industry.

“We completed a number of workshops prior to the implementation of Food Information Regulations, drawing on the expertise in the members’ network and feeding these back into the consultation.”

SOFHT has a ‘Breakfast Club’ on September 22 in London where  Jerry Houseago of NSF International will speak, as will Ian Thomas, a regulatory barrister at 6 Pump Court, specialising in food and beverages, working within the retail, hospitality and food production sectors.

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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