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Government Chemist position strengthened in 2004 review


The latest review of the Government Chemist (GC) presents an account of LGC’s analytical, advisory and strategic work for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) during 2004. An overview of the year’s achievements, the review shows significant growth in the role of the GC and the subsequent benefits for government, businesses and consumers.

The review focuses on the GC’s three main responsibilities: its statutory referee function to provide evidence to resolve differences arising from analytical measurements made by businesses and regulatory enforcement bodies; its advisory role to government and industry on matters of policy, standards and regulation; and LGC’s analytical and technological capabilities required to support the GC function effectively.

Dr John Marriott, Government Chemist and LGC’s Director of Analytical Technology, said: "It has been a busy year for the Government Chemist. As the referee analyst, we experienced a 79% increase in samples received under food and agriculture legislation, associated with the safety, authenticity or labelling of food products. One of the issues investigated concerned the amount of viable bacteria in probiotic food supplements that led to the product being removed from the market to be reformulated. Other challenges included the identification of irradiated food, the determination of mycotoxins in feeds, and the understanding of the variability in the determination of calcium concentration in fortified soya milk. On the advisory side, we have taken a lead on regulatory guidance for UK businesses during industry preparations for the EU’s REACH chemical testing scheme."

He continued: "It is particularly pleasing to see the GC role continue to evolve and grow year on year and to know that our responsibilities work to the benefit of all sides. Whether we are reporting results of complex chemical analysis or advising on issues relating to anything from consumer safety to human exposure to chemicals in the environment, we know that we are working in the interests of regulators, industry and consumers."

The review also reports on a new three-year Government Chemist programme to 2008, agreed with DTI and formulated with input from national stakeholders having a vested interest in analysis. The new programme will respond to anticipated sustained pressures on the referee analyst stemming from the redoubled surveillance of food products as a result of recent health alerts such as Sudan 1. It will work towards building public confidence over the objectivity and value of government science and will underpin the statutory duties of the Government Chemist, spurring on further innovation to push the boundaries of regulatory measurement science.

The Government Chemist Review 2004 is available at Printed copies are available from LGC, Queens Road, Teddington, Middlesex, TW11 0LY. Tel: 020 8943 7000. Fax: 020 8943 2767. Email:

Wendy Taylor | alfa
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