Aims diary

Was it Pat Wall or Max Wall that spoke to conference?

Handed the deathly dull topic of regulation to deal with Professor Wall, who is chairman of the European Food Safety Authority, preceded to tell a string of jokes about regulation to keep the audience awake. Example: "What's the difference between Tesco and a terrorist? You can negotiate with a terrorist!" As well as keeping the audience amused each story had a sting of an important industry point in the tail.

Jason Aldiss, boss of the firm that supplies many inspectors for the MHS, had the equally daunting task of explaining the complex technicalities of proposed meat inspection changes. Grappling to get his laptop presentation on screen he had to admit "I'm not terribly technically minded."

Andrew Slade is the new 'sustainability' supremo for the South West. As such his speech was littered with environment references. Just a few days earlier he almost had his own personal environmental disaster. As he literally drove along the M4 to move into a new West Country house, his solicitor rang to say that one search on his new property hadn't been completed. It was the environmental report.

Well, which would you choose? Mention was made of former American vice-present Al Gore's pronouncements on the environment. David Hughes admitted that he had the chance to listen to Al Gore on a long flight ....or watch 'Pirates of the Caribbean.' Guess which he chose?

Norman Bagley told conference that processors and supermarkets in Eastern Europe negotiate contracts on a weekly basis. "Can you imagine processors over here having 1,000 cattle and not knowing till Thursday whether they had a customer!"

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