Looking Closely at Food for You for over 150 Years

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Protecting the Public

The Association of Public Analysts (also known as the APA) is the professional body for the highly-skilled scientists who make up the front line of the UK's public protection service, where chemical analysis and related tests are needed. The Public Analyst works to ensure the health and safety of the public in relation to food standards, environmental matters and consumer protection.

Last year was the 150th anniversary of the Adulteration of Food and Drink Act. The Act prohibited the adulteration of food and created an offence of knowingly selling food containing an injurious ingredient or material. It also allowed local authorities to appoint an analyst to enforce the Act; it was later legislation that coined the term “Public Analyst”.


Latest Items


Time to Tighten our Belts?

The average adult in the UK today is 8.4 kg heavier than 30 years ago. To lose this weight over three years equates to cutting down on 200 kcal per day.

Assuming that there is no change in physical activity and using 2009 diet and food data this amounts to a reduced food intake to the value of 167 per person per anum over three years, costing the UK food industry 26 billion over this period .

The full paper by Tim Lobstein is: Lobstein T (2011) Maternal and child obesity: some policy challenges. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. Doi:10.1017/S0029665111003156. and can be downloaded from


Public Analysts have scored a victory against counterfeiters by helping to take dangerous fake vodka off sale

Lancashire and Staffordshire County Analyst have both recently been involved in removing counterfeit Arctic Ice vodka from the shelves. The fake product contained a cocktail of chemicals including high levels of methanol and isopropanol as well as chloroform and could have caused permanent blindness, serious organ failure and even death.

For more details Click here


GSS Enjoy APSE Success

Glasgow Scientific Services, in partnership with AIS and Darkin Systems Limited, were winners of this years Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE) awards. Their Labportal project won the category of Best Information and Technology Initiative against strong opposition from seven other councils across the UK.


Durham Laboratory Closes

Durham County Council have decided to close the Durham Public Analyst Laboratory. After 56 years working on behalf of consumers in the north east of England the last day of operations was 30th June 2011. All except one member of staff have been made redundant.

Records show that their have been only four County Analysts employed in Durham. The laboratory was set up by Mr Joe Markland in 1955 who appointed as his deputy shortly after opening Mr Frank C Shenton . Frank became the County Analyst in 1965 and was succeeded by John Vallance in 1982. Alan Richards was appointed in 1993. A history of the laboratory is in preparation and will be published soon.

Commenting on the closure Dr Duncan Campbell, President of the Association of Public Analysts, said

     "This is a sad day for the profession. Joe Markland and Alan Richards, together with Norman Michie who also worked in Durham, are Past Presidents of the Association. Staff in Durham have provided a high quality service and have made a significant contribution to advancements in enforcement analysis. As with other laboratory closures the decision has been taken for local reasons and the loss of experience, capability and capacity will not be replaced, weakening the UK's Official Food and Feed Control system”.


Review of the Food Safety (Sampling & Qualifications) Regulations 1990

These Regulations specify the qualifications necessary to be a public analyst, food analyst or food examiner for the purposes of the Food Safety Act 1990.

They prohibit specified persons from carrying out analyses or examinations. They also specify the procedures to be followed when a sample has been procured under that Act for analysis or examination, and exclude from these procedures samples taken under Regulations which have their own procedures. They prescribe the form of certificate to be used by analysts and examiners in making their reports.

The Food Standards Agency has been considering a review of these Regulations for some years. Prior to a formal review it is currently holding a preliminary review. To read the letter outlining this and details of where to respond to click here. Responses are requested by the 24th June 2011. The APA will be submitting a response.


Contact points for members' laboratories, listings of new legislation, training material and general information about the Association, may be obtained by following the links on the left.

Peer reviewed papers are published in the Journal of the Association of Public Analysts (online) at

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