Monthly Archives: July 2015

Provoking Discussion on Health and Governing Food Policy

In the lead-up to our workshop on Governing Food Policy on the 25th of September 2015, we will be sharing a number of posts from BSUFN members to get people thinking and provoke discussion around a range of areas related to food policy.

This post addresses the issues surrounding human health in response to the five questions we are presenting for the workshop. This post was written by Durwin Banks and presents some of his thoughts on the topic. Durwin will be speaking during the Governing Food Policy Workshop in September.

Durwin Banks is a local linseed farmer (The Linseed Farm) and sits on the Board of the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership. Durwin is a representative for BSUFN’s Food Health and Education SIG and has recently taken up a place on our sterring group. You can find more of Durwin’s articles on the links between food and health here and you can follow him on Twitter @flaxfarmer.

Provoking Discussion on Health and Governing Food Policy

  •   In what ways are local, national, and global food policies and priorities interlinked?

World trade debates at high levels between powerful nations are the link to many policies and often priorities are about big money and not at all about providing good and healthy food for the world population. Commodity trading of food can distort markets but it is not wholly bad and does provide a kind of warehousing effect.

  • Does existing local, national, and international food policy reflect the needs and priorities of society?

These policies often do not reflect the need of society for good and healthy food but unfortunately does pander to the fast food which society at the moment sees as a priority.

  • Which stakeholders currently influence the production of food policy?

The largest stakeholders influencing food policy at the moment are big Pharma. They use The Food Standards Agency and the trading standards departments to ensure the lid is kept on food information that could lead to healthier populations. Laws are formulated and passed to ensure the dominance of cure rather than prevention. Examples are the Cancer Act 1939 and EU directives bringing herbal healing under the control of the MHRA. The Cancer Act largely prevents an integrated approach to cure and the EU herbal directives make it more difficult to use herbs traditionally used for thousands of years. These herbs have not damaged health and caused death but pharmaceuticals have and there is plenty of evidence of this.

  • Through what means can society engage with and influence the production of food policy? Is society currently successful in this?

For the reasons above it is very difficult to influence policy and society has been unsuccessful in ensuring health through food. The only means society can engage and have influence is through buying power and this requires food information and educating individuals in groups or one at a time. Finally the sugar debate is bearing some fruit and that shows there can be influence brought to bear but creating laws to regulate its use will be a long time coming.

When governments do act pressure can result in bad law and this happened in Denmark when a fat tax was brought in. Instead of taxing for instance manmade fats margarine, saturated fats were taxed making a mockery of any drive for a balance of healthy fats. (We are animals and have saturated fat in our bodies and have the mechanism to both assimilate and expel excess. We do not have this ability with abused fats.)

  • In what ways could BSUFN interact with food policy research, governance, and societal engagement?

The BSUFN could interact by using evidence of the impact of food on health and it would be good to formulate research in this area. Southampton University have done work on the blood of pregnant women testing for the balance of omega three and omega six. My suggestion would be a project of testing the sperm for the same things and looking at the food regimes of the suppliers of the sperm. I have not heard of any research in this area so as sperm is the beginning of new life this would be a good place to start.


Upcoming event – Governing Food Policy Workshop

Governing Food Policy Workshop

Friday 25th of September 2015

14:00 – 17:30

Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Room 2.10 – University of Sussex campus, Falmer

This workshop sees the launch of a new Food Policy and Governance special interest group (SIG) hosted by BSUFN. The purpose of this workshop is to discuss the broad topic of governing food policy in the context of work being undertaken by BSUFN members. Food policy is considered broadly as any policy of an organisation or governing institution which is related to food. Discussion among workshop participants aims to inform any areas of interest and priorities for activities and collaboration within the Food Policy and Governance SIG and BSUFN more broadly.

The workshop will centre on a series of questions to provoke discussion but these questions should not be considered to be exhaustive and other related topics for discussion are welcomed.

  • In what ways are local, national, and global food policies and priorities interlinked?
  • Does existing local, national, and international food policy reflect the needs and priorities of society?
  • Which stakeholders currently influence the production of food policy?
  • Through what means can society engage with and influence the production of food policy? Is society currently successful in this?
  • In what ways could BSUFN interact with food policy research, governance, and societal engagement?

Sessions will be structured as ‘quick fire’ introductions followed by a period of open discussion among workshop participants. Speakers will each be given ten minutes to introduce a topic concerning food policy within their area of interest. A provisional programme is now available below.

The workshop will be followed by a BSUFN social in Brighton to start the new academic year. Booking for the meal is essential. Details are available here.

Time Session Chair / Discussants
14:00 Welcome and Introduction Rachael Taylor (SPRU, Sussex)
14:10 Food Policy and Sustainability at an International Scale Saurabh Arora (SPRU, Sussex)

Ruth Segal (SPRU, Sussex)

Elise Wach (IDS)

14:40 Open discussion
14:55 Food Industry and Food Policy in Governing Bodies Erik Millstone (SPRU, Sussex)

Durwin Banks (The Linseed Farm and Brighton & Hove Food Partnership)

15:15 Open discussion
15:30 Break
15:50 Local Food Policy TBC (Brighton & Hove Food Partnership)
16:10 Open discussion
16:30 Introduction to break out Rachael Taylor
16:35 Break out group discussions
16:50 Feedback and open discussion
17:30 Close

From Farm to Fork in Ghana: A Photo Essay

During our sympoisum earlier this year, BSUFN hosted a conversation between the UK and Ghana which addressed the similarities and differences in local farming systems in the two countries (see a summary of the discussion here). This post presents a photo essay of the farming system in Northern Ghana, from production to processing to consumption.

Photos courtesy of Rachael Taylor

Food Chemistry and Physics – Dipak Sarker

Dr Dipak K. Sarker, PhD, CChem, MRSC, FHEA

Principal Lecturer in Pharmaceutics, University of Brighton



Research interests: Drug Delivery and Pharmaceutics, Soft Matter Physics, Nanotechnology, Materials

A chartered chemist, member of the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) Panel of Experts on Additives and Food Chemistry and researcher working on food ingredients and pharmaceuticals. An author of two pharmaceutical science books. An experienced food scientist/physical chemist/physicist with practical experience of the food, ingredient and pharmaceutical industries, and with experience in:

Engineering and Physics

  • Processing technology
  • Engineering and process optimisation
  • The thermal properties of materials
  • The texture and mechanics of materials
  • Rheology

Chemistry and change

  • The chemistry of instability and degradation
  • Autoxidation and free radical formation
  • Rancidity
  • Insolubilisation

The chemistry of component interaction

  • Gelation
  • Thickening mechanisms and pâtés
  • Protein chemistry
  • Carbohydrates and gums
  • Browning reactions
  • Flavour and sweetness
  • Pigments and colours
  • Preservatives and additives
  • Functional modification and chemical derivatisation for purpose
  • Emulsifiers
  • Crosslinking agents
  • Product formulation

Methods of analysis

  • Proximate analysis
  • Titration
  • Thermal analysis: calorimetry, DSC
  • Surface tension and interfacial rheology
  • Bulk rheology
  • Particle sizing, charge estimation and microscopy
  • Morphology
  • Spectroscopy and colourimetry
  • Chromatography

If you are interested in working with me, or as part of consultancy me driving some cutting edge research or finding out about product or process improvement, such as re-formulation please get in touch.


Dr Dipak K. Sarker, PhD, CChem, MRSC, FHEA

Principal Lecturer in Pharmaceutics

Assistant Course Leader Pharmacy Degree

The Biomaterials, Chemistry and Drug Delivery Research Groups

The School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences (PaBS)

College of Life, Health and Physical Sciences

The University of Brighton

Lewes Road, Brighton, BN2 4GJ, UK

Tel: 01273 2798333    Fax: 01273 642674




Selected work:

Sarker, D.K., Wilde, P.J. & Clark, D.C. (1995) Colloids & Surfaces B:Biointerfaces, 3, 349-356.

Sarker, D.K., Wilde, P.J. & Clark, D.C. (1995) J. Agric. Food Chemistry, 43, 295-300.

Sarker, D.K., Wilde, P.J. & Clark, D.C. (1996) Colloids & Surfaces A:Physicochemical & Engineering Aspects, 114, 227-236.

Wüstneck, R., Krägel, J., Miller, R., Fainerman, V.B., Wilde, P.J., Sarker, D. & Clark, D.C. (1996) Food Hydrocolloids, 10 (4), 395-405.

Sarker, D.K., Wilde, P.J. & Clark, D.C. (1998) Cereal Chemistry, 75 (4) 493-499.

Sarker, D.K., Bertrand, D., Chtioui, Y. & Popineau, Y. (1998) J. Texture Studies, 29, 15-42.

Sarker, D.K., Axelos, M. & Popineau, Y. (1999) Colloids & Surfaces B:Biointerfaces, 12:147-160.

Sarker, D.K. & Wilde, P.J. (1999) Colloids & Surfaces B:Biointerfaces, 15:203-213.

Howbrook, D., Sarker, D., Lloyd, A.W. & Louwrier, A. (2002) Biotech. Letters, 24:2071-2074.

van der Valk, A., Howbrook, D., O’Shaughnessy, M., Sarker, D., Baker, S.C., Louwrier, A. and Lloyd, A. (2003) Biotech. Letters, 25(16):1325-1328.

Sarker, D.K. (2005) Current Drug Delivery, 2 (4): 297-310.

Sarker, D.K. (2005) Current Nanoscience, 1(2): 157-168.

Al-Hanbali, O, Rutt, K.J Sarker, D.K., Hunter, AC, Moghimi, S.M. (2006) J. Nanoscience and Nanotech.6 (8): 3126-3133.

Sarker, D.K. (2006) Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, 6 (7): 793-804.

Sarker, D. (2006) PFQ (Pharmaceutical Formulation & Quality), 8 (5) September, p42-46.

Valtcheva-Sarker, R.V., O’Reilly, J.D., Sarker, D.K. (2007) Recent Patents on Drug Delivery and Formulation, 1(2): 147-159.

Georgiev, G.A., Sarker, D.K. , Al-Hanbali, O., Georgiev, G.D., Lalchev Z. (2007) Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 59: 184-193.

Sarker, D. K. (2007) Reviews, 8 (14) p4-5.

Collins, G., Patel, A., Dilley, A. and Sarker, D.K. (2008) J. Agric. Food Chemistry, 56 (10) 3846-3855.

Di Mattia, CD, Sacchetti, G, Mastrocola, D, Sarker, DK, Pittia, P. (2010) Food Hydrocolloids, 24: 652-658.

Sarker, D.K. (2010) Recent Patents in Material Science, 3(3): 191-202.

Sarker, D. K. (2010) Reviews, 11 (20) pp21-24.

Concannon, C., Hennelly, D.A., Noott, S. and Sarker, D.K. (2010) Current Drug Discovery Technologies, 7(2), 123-136.

Nikolov P., Genov, K., Konova, P., Milenova, K., Batakliev, T., Georgiev, V., Kumar, N., Sarker, D.K., Pishev, D., Rakovsky, S. (2010) J. Hazardous Materials, 184, 16-19.

Boevski, I., Genov, K., Boevska, N., Milenova, K., Batakliev, T., Georgiev, V., Nikolov, P. and Sarker, D.K. (2011) Comptes rendus de l’Académie bulgare des Sciences, 64(1):33-38.

Sarker, D. K. (2011) Reviews, 11 (21) pp46-49.

Genov, K., Boevska, N., Boevski, I. and Sarker, D.K. (2011) Comptes rendus de l’Académie bulgare des Sciences, 64(4):509-514.

Loukanov, A., Genov, K., Bratkova, S., Angelov, A. and Sarker, D. (2012). Annals of the Constantin Brâncussi University of Târgu Jiu (Romania), Engineering Series, 3: 345-355. ISSN:1844-4856.

Sarker, D. K. (2013) School Science Review, 95 (350) pp45-52.

Book Chapters

Sarker, D.K. (2009) In: Current Focus on Colloids and Surfaces, Chapter 12 (Research Signpost Science Series, Li, S., ed.), Transworld Research Network, India, pp 225-242. ISBN: 978-81-7895-438-7.

Sarker, D.K. (2012) In: Biomedical Materials and Diagnostic Devices, Chapter 13, Part III, Scrivener Publishing LLC, USA, pp395-434. ISBN – 978-11-1803-014-1.


Sarker, D.K. (2008) Quality Systems and Controls for Pharmaceuticals, John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, 2008 pp216. ISBN – 978-0-470-05693-6 (paperback); 978-0-470-05692-9 (hardback)

Sarker, D.K. (2013) Pharmaceutical Emulsions: A Drug Developer’s Toolbag, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, 2008 pp206. ISBN – 978-0-470-97683-8 (hardback)

Some recent abstracts/conference presentations

Di Mattia, C., Sarker, D.K., Sacchetti, G., Occhino, E., Pittia, P. (2008) ICEF 10 Conference, Argentina, abstract.

Di Mattia C., Pittia P., Sarker, D.K., Mastrocola D., Sacchetti G (2009) 6th NIZO Dairy Conference, Papendahl, Holland.

Di Mattia, C.D., Sarker, D.K., Sacchetti, G., Boznou, A., Mastrocola, D. and Pittia, P. (2010) Food Colloids Conference, Granada, Spain.

Genov, K., Boevska, N., Milenova, K., Batakliev, T., Georgiev, V., Nikolov, P. and Sarker, D.K. (2011) Balkan Congress of Catalytic Materials, Institute of General And Inorganic Chemistry, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAN), Bulgaria

Sarker, D.K. (2011) Annual CLT Conference of Teaching and Learning, Falmer

Dichello G., Whitby, R.L.D., Mikhalovsky, S.V. and Sarker, D.K. (2014) Nanosystems for in-vivo self-assembling medical devices. The 12th International Symposium on Bioscience and Nanotechnology, Kwagoe Campus, Toyo University, Japan 14/15-Nov

Sarker, D.K. (2015) Functional Foods and Food Functionalisation. BSUFN Diversity of Food Research Conference, Falmer 4th Feb

Some noteworthy invited presentations

Sarker, D.K. (2003) Surfactant encapsulation. Unilever Research Vlaardingen, Netherlands, May

Sarker, D.K. (2005) Réseau Interfaces (COST Framework) – INRA du INEM, ENITIAA-INRA, Nantes, France, November

Sarker, D.K. (2006) Emulsions. University of Teramo, Italy, August.

Sarker, D.K., Genov, K., Nikolov, N. and Rakovsky, S. (2009) Bulgarian Academy of Sciences Symposia, Bulgaria, August

Sarker, D.K. (2010) University of Sofia, Bulgaria, September.

Sarker, D.K. (2011) Faculty Seminar, University of Brighton, May.

Gustafsson, J. and Sarker, D.K. (2014) Master of pharmacy thesis defence. School of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, University of Gothemburg (Göteberg), Sweden

Seliverstova, Y., Sarker, D.K. and Ibrayev, N. (2014) PhD public defence, Physics Department, Karaganda State University, Kazakhstan

Dichello, G., Fearon, P., Smart, J.D and Sarker, D.K. (2014) Curcumin nanotechnology project. Vietnamese Academy of Sciences, Hanoi

A Local Network with an International Audience

The Brighton and Sussex Universities Food Network (BSUFN) does what our name suggests – we provide a network for people researching food-related issues at the Universities of Brighton and Sussex. An important feature of BSUFN is engaging with the local community and local organisations in Brighton & Hove and throughout East Sussex. As such, a number of our members represent local community groups and organisations.

Despite this local focus of BSUFN, the things we are doing and discussions we are having are reaching far beyond East Sussex. Not only does BSUFN have members who are located at other universities within the UK but even has two members at universities overseas. The international interest in BSUFN is clearly represented by our online interactions through our website and Twitter account.

We are now half way through 2015 and so far this year articles of BSUFN’s website have been viewed in 54* countries worldwide.

Countries from which the BSUFN website was viewed during the first six months of 2015

Countries from which the BSUFN website was viewed during the first six months of 2015*

*N.B. Although China is not indicated on the map this is because the website cannot be accessed from within China due to government restrictions. However, BSUFN are aware of readers in China who are viewing our website via other countries.

Food Production in Hastings – A Walk Through Old Town

The University of Brighton has a campus in Hastings and BSUFN has active members based there. This week a few members of BSUFN’s steering group met in Hastings to discuss planning for upcoming events. We took the opportunity to make the most of the British summer by walking while talking about ideas.

Hastings has a community which is thriving on food-related issues. The town has been built around the fishing industry and this continues to be very active. There are a number of social clubs for anglers in Hastings and fishing remains central to these community groups.

Part of the fish market in Hastings

Part of the fish market in Hastings*

Our walking meeting took us from a brewery, to a bakery, to the fish market.

The FILO Brewery is located in Old Town, Hastings. It has been brewing beer under the current ownership since 1988 and its beers are sold in the First In Last Out (FILO) pub, also in Old Town.

Our walk took us past – and into – Judges Bakery, a nationally-renowned organic bakery located in the centre of Old Town, Hastings. Judges Bakery was named one of the 50 best food shops in Britain by The Independent. A review of and details of the bakery are available here.

Our walk ended on the coast at the fish market. The history of the fishing industry in Hastings goes back over a thousand years – the shingle beach is called the Stade, meaning ‘landing place’. The current fish market was built in 1993 by the Fishermen’s Protection Society. The fishing fleet in Hastings is now the UK’s largest beach-launched fleet. The town is also home to Hastings Fishermen’s Museum.

A view over Old Town and the fishing fleet in Hastings

A view over Old Town and the fishing fleet in Hastings*

BSUFN are planning to facilitate a community event in Hastings later in the year – keep an eye on the website for announcements.

* Photos courtesy of Ruth Segal