Project Collaborators

The key academic research partners are from multidiscipline areas at Queen’s University Belfast and Michigan State University. The team includes two research centres at Queen’s University Belfast and the school of law at Queen’s University Belfast in collaboration with an external partner, Dr John Spink at the Michigan State University.

Food fraud: a supply network integrated systems analysis

Mr Jon Spencer, Manchester University ES/M003183/1

The aim of this research is to develop a predictive computational approach to modelling food supply chains so that the points where food fraud can occur are identified. Identifying these points of vulnerability to adulteration within the supply chain will allow regulators and retailers to take appropriate action to avoid food fraud. This project will bring together an interdisciplinary team of researchers from analytical sciences, predictive modelling, law, criminology and business studies, and will contribute to consumer confidence and trust in UK food supply chains.

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Older people's perceptions and experiences of strengths and vulnerabilities across the UK food system

Dr Wendy Wills, University of Hertfordshire ES/M00306X/1

Like the rest of the developing world the UK is experiencing demographic change. Increasingly people are living longer and predictions say this is set to continue. A significant minority of older people have ongoing health conditions and for those aged over 85 up to two thirds have a disability or limiting long term illness. These older people might become vulnerable through the food that they eat and this should be a research priority in terms of impact on the UK food system, quality of life for individuals, better public health outcomes, reducing the burden of disease and disability, not to mention the resultant economic benefits for the UK.

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Public perceptions of the UK food system: public understanding and engagement, and the impact of crises and scares

Ms Caireen Roberts, NatCen Social Research ES/M003329/1

The growing complexity of international food supply chains is giving rise to a new generation of risks and concerns. These encompass traditional food safety issues relating to biological and chemical contamination but last year adulteration and fraud of food re-emerged as a major issue with the horsemeat scandal. The extensive media coverage revealed not only widespread fraud but also the hitherto underappreciated complexity of the UK meat supply chain and the extent of meat imports. This project will use both qualitative and quantitative methods along with social media analysis to generate new empirical findings on public perceptions of UK food supply chains, what people's concerns are, and what influences these and how they may be best managed in the future.

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Making provisions: anticipating food emergencies and assembling the food system

Dr Andrew Donaldson, Newcastle University ES/M003159/1

From animal disease outbreaks, to accidental contamination, food-borne illnesses, and concerns over the provenance or ingredients of foodstuffs, food crises of one form or another are seemingly a regular occurrence. This project will look at the ways in which those involved in the production, processing, retail, management and governance of food anticipate future problems and develop plans to avoid them or deal with them. By investigating these issues the project hopes to be able to draw out realistic lessons for building a more resilient food system.

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