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LGC celebrates centenary conference in Hong Kong

12 Dec 2013
LGC is delighted to have contributed to the Centenary Conference of the Government Laboratory of Hong Kong.

The conference, hosted and organised by the Government Laboratory of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, has been celebrating 100 years of analytical and forensic services. Whilst the laboratory’s origins date back to the 1870s, when it sat within local government, this conference celebrated 100 years of the Hong Kong laboratory as an separate entity.  

The -day scientific programme consisted of lectures, workshops, poster sessions and laboratory visits. It brought together international experts in metrology, quality assurance, analytical chemistry and forensic science to share innovative ideas, knowledge and latest scientific developments. The schedule also included international collaborative efforts to strengthen and raise scientific standards, challenges faced by scientists worldwide and innovations to prepare for the future.

As well as chairing sessions devoted to Food Safety and Healthcare, LGC’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Derek Craston – also the UK’s Government Chemist – presented on “The History of LGC and the UK Government Chemist and its Role in the Modern Era” and “The Role of Science in Meeting Emerging Challenges in Food Safety”.

In addition, LGC’s Chief Chemical Metrologist, Dr Mike Sargent, chaired sessions on Science and Measurements for Daily Life and presented “Reliable and Traceable Measurements in Support of Innovation, Quality of Life and Trade”.

As a further part of the celebrations, LGC for the first time undertook a real-time international webinar with presentations from Hong Kong and Teddington under the theme ‘Safe Food – Emerging Challenges and Opportunities’.  At 8:30 am in Teddington and 4:30 pm in Hong Kong, Dr Derek Craston and Dr Della Sin, Deputy Government Chemist Hong Kong, jointly chaired the seminar in Hong Kong, with Michael Walker hosting at the LGC end.

Dr Craston also spoke, describing the work of the Government Chemist in resolving analytical disputes in the UK official food and feed enforcement system, while Dr Wai On Lee discussed changes in food legislation and the challenges they pose to analytical laboratories. Michael Walker contributed with a talk on the approaches required to predict the next food incident and referee case and Mr F W Lee of the Hong Kong lab described some interesting cases of fraud he had dealt with - including fake diamond and jade, counterfeit ‘birds nest soup’ and various species substitution frauds including lizard and python used to replace crocodile meat.

After the presentations a lively Q&A session took place and Dr Malcolm Burns was invited to describe his NRL duties as the UK National Reference Laboratory for GMO analysis.

Michael Walker said, “This bilateral seminar was a great success - interesting and exciting - and we gained a lot from the presentation given by Mr Lee as well as the questions and comments from colleagues in Hong Kong afterwards. There were many similarities and some interesting differences in the casework between LGC and Hong Kong - but the same application of analytical rigour. We look forward to hosting further web based seminars in the future - it is an excellent way of sharing experiences”.