Meet an AIJN Code of Practice Expert

David Hammond

Vice Chairman of the COPEG & a Fruit Juice & Authenticity Expert for Eurofins Scientific

David Hammond

Vice Chairman of the COPEG & a Fruit Juice & Authenticity Expert for Eurofins Scientific

1. Could you please tell what your background is?

At Nottingham University I studied chemistry and then did a Ph.D. there looking at the modification of the steroidal backbone to prepare insecticidal and insect repellant compounds. At the end of this, I decided I did not want to work for a pharma company but wanted to stay in chemistry. I had had a couple of years experience as a summer student at the Food Research Institute in Norwich and so had some food background and so joined Cadbury Schweppes at their central research center that was just opening at the University of Reading in 1981.

I then worked on a number of problems including the analysis vitamins in a chocolate/malt-based beverage and then moved over to the “biochemistry” section. This is where I developed my background in the beverage. I worked on a number of projects including looking at the stability of comminuted bases, production of natural clouding agents and also the authenticity of fruit juices.

I worked there for 24 years before leaving in 2006 when I joined Eurofins as one of their fruit juice and authenticity experts.

I have been part of the IFU analytical commission since 1990, holding a number of positions.

2. How long have you been working for the AIJN Code of Practice Expert Group?

I have been a member of the CoPEG in the Autumn of 2002. When the AIJN board, under the leadership of Rory Ryan, opened membership of the CoPEG up to one person from a commercial laboratory. At that time the committee was chaired by another lost friend Martin Greeve.

3. Why did you accept to become a Code of Practice expert?

I joined the CoPEG for purely commercial reasons, as RSSL felt that it would be beneficial for our fruit juice and authenticity business. It also interested me to use my expertise to help the industry fight unfair competition in the EU fruit juice market.

4. What do you like the most about this job?

The CoPEG is a great group of people to work with, who are very committed to what we do. I have been involved in the preparation of a good number of Reference guides, which has given me an opportunity to get a greater understanding of fruit juices.

5. Which project (work on specific guideline) was the most challenging?

Most recently I have been involved in the preparation of two RG for “sexy” juices, that is pomegranate and coconut water. Both of these were challenging as there were lots of conflicting data published as to what these juices actually “looked like” analytically and there were significant issues with their authenticity prior to the publication of the RGs. This meant there was pressure to prepare the RG as quickly as possible to provide real data that could be used by laboratories (both commercial and in-house) to control the quality and authenticity of these products. In fact, with the help of the expert laboratories, the CoPEG was able to prepare the coconut water RG in record time. Normally when fresh work starts on an RG the “A” criteria are fixed first as there are often lots of data available here as the methods are simple and are often applied by the juice producers. Then further data are collected by the expert laboratories overtime before the RG is finalized. We were very fortunate that in this case a lot of the “leg work” had already been carried out by the laboratories in their studies on this fruit juice.

6. How does the work of IFU match up with that of CoP?

In many ways they are complementary. One topic that never comes up the Methods of Analysis Commission (MAC) is what is the level supposed to be! This we leave very much to the CoPEG. However, the job of the MAC is to ensure that there is/are validated method/s available so that when the CoPEG decides to set a “control value” or range they will know that this can be reliably measured. In fact, there are a good number of members (7) of the extended CoPEG group are members or past members of the MAC