Food in the news

Food in the News

Food in the news

Our monthly update of a selection noteworthy stories, all things food related.

Farmer prosecuted for unsafe milk

Sale of unpasteurised milk is legal in England as long as strict rules are complied with. Recently, a Suffolk farmer was recently prosecuted for selling unpasteurised milk containing unacceptable levels of a type of bacteria called coliforms – these can be an indication that the milk has not been collected hygienically. To make matters worse, the farmer then threatened the visiting Environmental Health Officers, who came to investigate the problem.

Check out Environmental Health News for more details.


Avoid the Danish pastries?

Recent research by the European food safety authorities has found that high levels of cinnamon in your diet could increase the risk of liver cancer. The Danish food authority has put in limits to the amount of cinnamon that can now be added to everyday baked products such as Danish pastries.

Read Helen Russell’s article in The Guardian to find out more.

Read more here

Norovirus strikes again

In 2009, experimental chef Heston Blumenthal had to shut his world-famous restaurant, the Fat Duck, due to an outbreak of the food poisoning bug Norovirus. Unfortunately, lightening does strike twice for Heston – at the end of January he had to shut his high class restaurant in London, Dinner, for one week due to another outbreak.

Our higher education students here at Reaseheath learn about Norovirus and how to prevent outbreaks as part of their food safety module. Perhaps Heston should join us?

Read more about Heston’s restaurant crisis here.

So how do you say quinoa?

Or do you care? Have a look at this light-hearted article in The Guardian about how some of those tricky culinary terms should be pronounced. Or you could just do what I do with the Latin names of bacteria – say them fast enough and with lots of confidence, and everyone will believe you’re right!


A couple of Apps that caught the eye…


Are you obsessed with the perfect boiled egg? Probably not, but for £0.69p, you can buy an app to help you get the perfect yolk consistency, whether you’re doing it at sea  level or up a mountain (yes – altitude does have an effect!). Available here.

Not sure what E220 is? This free Andriod app, What Additives, will tell you something about it. Might be useful for the BSc students’ additives module!

Many of us need to brush up our maths skills. This app, Maths Everywhere, is free, and helps you apply maths to real-life situations. Give it a go!

(Please note: we are not responsible for the content of external sites linked to).

food bank

Locally speaking…

food bank

Nantwich Food Bank

Times are tough for many people at the moment. Many of us are lucky enough to know where our next meal is coming from, but others are less fortunate. Did you know that Nantwich has a food bank?

Food banks are vital sources of food for some people in desparate need. Food is donated by members of the public, businesses and other organisations. The food is sorted by volunteers. Members of the care profession then identify people who are in need of the food and give them a voucher to use at their local food bank.

You can help by donating food to the charity, or by supporting them with your time.

On Twitter:

A great way to keep updated with local food companies is through their Twitter handle – here’s a couple we’d recommend:

@Cheerbrook – official Twitter account for Cheerbrook Farm Shop on the outskirts of Nantwich.

@1CheshireCheese – whilst I’d always recommend you buy our own Reaseheath cheese, the Cheshire Cheese Company tweet about their trips to food shows and often have competitions to win their products.

@backfordbelles – there are quite a few local ice-cream makers, but this one is handy for those living on the Wirral.

Andrew Moule alumni issue 2

Where are our students now? – Andrew Moule

Andrew Moule Graduate QandA - Copy
Andrew Moule

Production Manager – Muller Wiseman Dairies (Droitwich)

What attracted you to this job?

I have been working at Muller Wiseman Dairies for nearly eight years and had experience in nearly all areas of the  company’s production & logistics departments, so to manage the key production area of the business seems to be the most logical step to boost my experience, knowledge and provide me the key ingredients to step forward and progress within the business.

What does your typical day involve?

There are four roles which I undertake as Production Manager, these are Early Shift Duty Manager / Back Shift Duty Manager / Early Support Manager or Days. As duty manager I would oversee the sites milk process & production which is 5 milk pasteurisers, 3 cream pasteurisers, six standard milk filling lines, two ESL (extended shelf life) milk filling lines & 3 cream fillers. As support I would assist the Duty Manager on the early shift & on days I would concentrate on my department (Polybottle Filling) and address staffing issues for my 49 staff who report to me, health & safety & quality issues, performance improvements & general admin.

What gives you the most job satisfaction?

I would say, knowing that because of mine & my teams hard work everyone can have & their enjoy their milk every day with their tea, coffee & cereal.

Tell us more about your environment in terms of work-life balance…

Due to the nature of the business the shifts range from (04:30am to 14:30) or (14:30pm to finish) (Monday – Saturday) if I am duty manager on early or back shift. If I’m working days it’s Monday – Friday 7am – 16:00.

My Girlfriend works away in the week so most weekends I spend with her. This means working the shifts in the week isn’t an issue for me.

How did you get to where you are today?

I left school at 16 and took a part time job while I looked for full time work. My Dad who was working at Wiseman’s as a Driver told me about vacancies in the logistics chill loading vehicles. I was successful in getting the job and worked for 4 ½ years in the logistics chill doing various roles before in Oct 2010 I applied for “Project Eden” which was a course run by Wiseman’s to develop staff by sending successful applicants on a 3 year foundation degree course which consisted of blocks of around 4-7 weeks per time away at Reaseheath College.

Coupled with the companies positive attitude & support towards the course I was able to gain experience in most areas of the production side of the business, develop my skills, knowledge and connections & with the knowledge & skills learnt at Reaseheath I could work with the site teams on projects and support the site teams with my acquired skill set.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of following your path?

Gaining experience in a production environment would be a key benefit to anyone looking to go into production management.

Working or applying to a company which offers work based learning schemes such as “Project Eden” is a very good way to gain academic skills as well as practical “hands-on” skills which is what I believe employers look for.

How well is your job compensated? What is the starting salary for someone in your field, and how much can this be expected to rise?

Salaries are negotiated on experience & length of service so can vary.

Further to this, there are a range of opportunities within the business & industry to provide me a very secure & promising career in Dairy.

What kind of hobbies or extracurricular activities do you do to relax?

My main hobby is cars, I own a high performance car (Toyota MR2 Turbo Import – currently 300bhp) & enjoy very much all the work that goes into maintaining it.

Apart from that I enjoy the usual things, films, socializing with friends, computer games, spending time with my girlfriend etc.

Before taking the job as Production Manager, I worked for 5 years part-time as a Special Constable for West Mercia Police, which was an amazing experience. However, due to the nature of the role, I had to leave the police to fully commit to my new job as it was infeasible undertaking two highly demanding jobs.

Seasonal Food 1 Rhubarb

Seasonal Food in February

Seasonal Food 1 Rhubarb

As the days start to get longer again, February is when we start thinking spring is just around the corner. February was know to the Saxons as ‘Sprout-Kale’,  as this is the month young cabbages would begin to sprout.

Also sprouting this month is rhubarb, which is actually a vegetable and not a fruit.

I can recommend a visit to Wakefield Rhubarb Festival, which takes place on Friday, 21st – Sunday 23rd February 2014.  Here you can try rhubarb curd, rhubarb smoothies, rhubarb and custard sweets, rhubarb pies, rhubarb sausage, rhubarb pickle, rhubarb cheese and rhubarb cakes!

Have you tried Rhubarb in Batter (like Toad in the Hole – but made with rhubarb) with syrup poured on top?

As February is the month of love and romance… why not show that special person in your life how

Seasonal Food 2 valentines

much you love them, by cooking a meal made with local and seasonal food?

BBC Good Food has some great ideas for you test out your culinary skills.

Some Web Links:

Have a look on the web for more ideas:

Bill Pearson


reaseheath food centre

Kathy Merrett: Programme Leader and Lecturer in Food

Each month we will focus on a different person, showing how their career has developed from their education choices to their current job.

Kathy_DSC4553 This month we look at the route Kathy Merrett, our Programme Leader and lecturer, took in her studies and career.

In Kathy’s own words:

“Studied a BSc (Hons) in Nutrition at Kings College, London and then spent over 20 years in the food industry in a variety of roles including Nutritionist for Good Housekeeping Magazine, New Product Developer for Birds Eye Wall’s, Buyer for major retailers including Somerfield and Morrison’s  and Marketing Manager for Hazlewood Foods. Started my own business in  2002, helping small food businesses with marketing advice and how to get listed in retailers, and then after the recession of 2007 decided to go into teaching …and haven’t looked back!”


hot plum torte issue 1

Recipe of the Month: Hot Plum Torte

hot plum torteA hearty winter delight!

Hot Plum Torte


Serves 6-8

75g soft butter, plus more for the tin

75g caster sugar

100g self-raising flour

1tsp baking powder

2 large eggs

Finely grated zest of 1 orange

900g ripe plums, cut in half, stones removed

150g Demerara sugar

Icing sugar, for dusting



Generously butter a 28cm ovenproof dish or deep loose-bottomed flat tin about 4cm deep.

Mary Berry

Measure the first six ingredients into a large bowl and beat until smooth.

Spread this mixture over the bottom of the tin or dish. Arrange the plums on top, cut side up and sprinkle with the Demerara sugar to forma thick layer.

The torte can be made to this point and kept uncooked in the fridge for up to 12 hours. It is not suitable for freezing.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until golden brown and the sponge springs back when pressed.

Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar and accompanied by cream, ice cream or custard.


(This recipe is taken from Mary Berry’s ‘One Step Ahead Cookbook’)

If you make it, take a photo and email it to



Recipe scones

Recipe of the Month: Cheshire Cheese & Spring Onion Scones

Recipe scones

The following recipe is reproduced with permission from the CPRE Cheshire Local Foods website. Their web site is all about helping you find and buy great food from the many local producers in Cheshire. It also lists local food events, such as farmers’ markets  and there is a free newsletter you can sign up to. If you’re interested in local foods, complete their Local Food Survey on attitudes to food miles.

The cheese and spring onion scones make a great packed lunch with tomatoes, watercress and a slice of cheese or ham.


250g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

50g butter

150ml milk

little extra milk to brush the tops

50g Cheshire cheese grated

3 spring onions, finely chopped

½ tsp mustard, mixed with the milk


  1. Preheat oven to 220C
  2. Sieve the flour and the baking powder together into a large bowl
  3. Rub in the butter so that the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the cheese and chopped onions.
  4. Add milk with mustard and mix together quickly with a knife.  When just mixed turn on to a floured surface and lightly pull together.  Do not knead or overmix.
  5. Roll into a circle 3cm thick.
  6. Either cot with a cutter to make 8 rounds or cut into 8 wedges.
  7. Brush with milk and place on a baking tray.
  8. Bake for about 10 minutes.  They will be firm to the touch and lightly brown
  9. Cool on a wire rack before serving.


(Image credit: Hector Robb, CPRE Cheshire volunteer)

Reaseheath veg

Introduction to Seasonal Foods

Reaseheath veg

There are lots of good reasons why we should eat more local and seasonal food.  The superb Eat the Seasons website gives the following reasons:

  • to reduce the energy (and associated CO2 emissions) needed to grow and transport the food we eat
  • to avoid paying a premium for food that is scarcer or has travelled a long way
  • to support the local economy
  • to reconnect with nature’s cycles and the passing of time

but, most importantly, because…

  • seasonal food is fresher and so tends to be tastier and more nutritious.

It also can make good commercial sense, as there is a growing demand from better educated consumers for seasonal food.

Bill Pearson, who’s a member of our Training Development department, has agreed to write a series of articles about what’s in season and he’ll also give links to seasonal recipes.   In his spare time Bill writes a blog on Good Food Shops and is keen on promoting the use of Social Networking to SMEs in the Food Industry.


Bill Pearson

Chris Budd alumni issue 1

Where are our students now? – Chris Budd

Each month we’ll look at past students and give you some information about what they’re doing in the food industry.

This month starts with Chris Budd. Chris was with us for six years – he studied his Level 3 National Diploma here, and then went on to study his Foundation Degree and graduated with a 2:1 in his BSc (Hons) Food Technology. Chris made the most of his time in College, and took a year’s paid work placement in industry to gain further experience.

Here’s his experience:

Where-are-our-students-now-Chris-Budd“I studied at Reaseheath College for 6 years in total, beginning with a National Diploma in Food Manufacturing and Nutrition, and leaving with a BSc Hons Food Industry with Management.

During my time at Reaseheath, I gained valuable experience working in creameries, working with retail and own label products, including frozen and ambient.

I also gained additional qualifications such as Level 3 Food Safety and Level Auditing and Inspection Skills, which have helped my C.V. standout when I was looking for employment.

Reaseheath College, in conjunction with Harper Adams University College, are well recognised within the food industry and are known to deliver high quality courses as well as graduates that are prepared for employment.

When I left Reaseheath, I was actively seeking employment, and it didn’t take too long before I was offered interviews.

I successfully landed a job within the Samworth Brothers Group in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, as a Process Development Technologist at Kettleby Foods.

In my role, I support all departments in the concept, trialling and launching of high quality ready-meal’s for retail.

Working in the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) arena has its challenges, and my role offers great variation, from attending customer panels, to managing factory trials, to visiting suppliers.

I believe that I had the best preparation I could have from Reaseheath, and I am confident that the skills and knowledge gained has set me up for a long and prosperous career in the food industry.”

Chris will shortly be moving to a new job with greater responsibilities, working as a New Product Development manager for the Covent Garden Soup Company.