CFA’s Kaarin Goodburn presented with the Leadership Award at 2009 Trade Association Forum Best Practice Awards (13 August 2009)

CFA’s Secretary General, Kaarin Goodburn, has been awarded the Leadership Award at the 2009 Trade Association Forum Best Practice Awards.

In awarding the Leadership award to Kaarin the Judges recognised that, from being involved in the establishment of the organisation 20 years ago, she has led the sector in which she operates as much as the organisation itself. Over that period she has advised and supported the sector at the UK, European and international level (where she is an advisor on a UN WHO expert group) as it has rapidly grown and evolved to be worth £8,500m to the UK economy.

Her nationally and internationally recognised expertise in developing best practice guideline for the sector and her ability to co-ordinate the actions of members has meant that the sector has been highly successful in achieving appropriate risk-based regulation that has encouraged growth and development in the industry.

With only 23 members this is a remarkable achievement, and is a credit to Kaarin’s leadership abilities which she has used to maximise the organisation’s resources by forging relationships across industry, academia and government. By pulling all parties together, she has been able to achieve outcomes that are beneficial to both her members and consumers. An achievement which was recognised last year when she was awarded an MBE for services to the Food Industry.

Kaarin was presented with her Leadership Award by John Sergeant at the Trade Association Forum’s black tie event at London’s Intercontinental Hotel, Park Lane.

CFA was also a finalist in the “Sector Representation” category which recognises success in representing the sector overall. To be short-listed as a finalist is a real accolade in itself as the sifting panel only put forward those entries they consider to be potential winners.


The Trade Association Forum (TAF) is an unincorporated body of UK Trade Associations funded by its members and administered by the Confederation of British Industry. The Forum provides its members with a range of services and activities designed to help them in the strategic development and day to day running of their organisations. Since its formation in 1997, TAF has been encouraging the development and sharing of best practice amongst UK Trade Associations and promoting the role of effective trade associations to government, industry and the wider public.

The TAF Best Practice Awards were launched in 2003 to foster the search for excellence, to recognise and reward achievement and to encourage the communication and adoption of best practice amongst Trade Association Forum members. They are the only awards of their kind in the UK.

CFA celebrates 20 years (18 June 2009)

This year the Chilled Food Association (CFA) celebrates its 20th anniversary. Following a number of food safety incidents in the 1980s, CFA was launched in summer 1989 to represent the chilled food industry and establish standards of excellence. In December 1989, the first edition of CFA’s Best Practice Guidelines (CFA Guidelines) and its then unique Accreditation Scheme were launched by the then Minister for Food Safety, Rt Hon David Maclean MP.

Since its formation, CFA has grown from 11 founding members with a combined turnover of around £100m to 24 members and a turnover of around £2500m. It represents many of the leading names in UK chilled food production supplying the retail trade and includes large multi-nationals and smaller businesses producing a wide variety of chilled products.

The UK chilled food sector is the most advanced in the world. The key CFA membership criterion is adherence to CFA’s ‘Best Practice Guidelines for the Production of Chilled Foods’ and other CFA guidelines together with successful independent audits (either BRC or IFS) and other corroboration of technical competence. These Guidelines are the basis of the European Chilled Food Federation’s operating recommendations for manufacturers and its principles are part of the British Retail Consortium’s Global Standard for Food. They represent the gold standard for the chilled food industry and other CFA guidance on specific aspects of chilled food production are also widely acclaimed. As a result hygiene and safety standards in UK chilled food manufacturers’ premises are second to none with a full hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) approach, implementation from farm to fork, segregation, strict temperature controls and full traceability of raw materials.

Milestones in CFA’s history include:

  • 1989 – Launch of CFA Guidelines and Accreditation Scheme establishing third party auditing in the UK food manufacturing sector.
  • 1990 – CFA gives evidence to Commons Agriculture Committee on microwave ovens.
  • 1991 – Formation of the European Chilled Food Federation with CFA as a founding member.
  • 1993 – Launch of 2nd edition of CFA Guidelines endorsed by Safeway.
  • 1994 – CFA gives evidence to Ministers opposing relaxation of temperature control regulations requiring certain chilled foods to be stored at or below 5oC.
  • 1995 – CFA becomes independent of the Food and Drink Federation.
  • 1997 – 3rd edition of CFA Guidelines published and endorsed by all major UK supermarkets.
  • 1998 – CFA givesevidence to Commons Agriculture Committee in its inquiry on the then proposed Food Standards Agency.
  • 2000 – CFA gives evidence to the European Commission on assuring produce safety.
  • 2001 – Food Industry Panels Group established with other associations to identify best practice in the use of composite panels, thereby minimising the risk of factory fires and aiming to obtain risk-based insurance cover.
  • 2002 – 1st editions of CFAÕs Hygienic Design Guidelines, Micro Guidance for Growers, and Pesticides Due Diligence Guidance published. CFA presented to FSA on chilled food industry traceability systems.
  • 2003 – FIPG Fire Risk Minimisation Guidance published and taken up as basis of preferential insurance solution targeting compliant sites (ISUWA). CFA Secretary General, Kaarin Goodburn, appointed to Defra Sustainable Farming and Food Research Priorities Group.
  • 2004 – IFS Certification accepted as CFA membership criterion. CFA £100k LINK research project on pathogen attachment initiated.
  • 2005 – CFA secures EU agreement for a risk-based policy approach to Listeria monocytogenesin food. CFA publishes Guidance on the EU Micro Criteria Regulations developed with the British Retail Consortium and with FSA input. CFA Guidance on Microbiological Testing and its Interpretation also published.
  • 2006 – 4th edition of CFA Best Practice Guidelines published. CFA successfully lobbies for a rejection of an FSA proposal to limit shelf-life of chilled foods from 10 days to 5 days. CFA member chairs Defra FISS Champions Group on Waste with CFA also as a member.
  • 2007 – 2nd edition of CFA Micro Guidance for Growers published with endorsement from the Health Protection Agency, National Farmers Union, British Leafy Salads Association, Horticultural Development Company.
  • 2008 – CFA secures change in FSA advice to consumers to no longer advise re-washing of pre-washed leaf. Kaarin Goodburn awarded the MBE for services to the food industry and appointed to the UN FAO/WHO Leafy Vegetables and Herbs Expert Group. CFA plays instrumental role in securing international recognition at the CODEX Committee on Food Hygiene for the EU’s regulatory approach on Lm in food. Start of CFA’s £750k three year SUSSLE (Sustainable Shelf Life Extension) LINK research programme which is designed to provide data to better understand and explore the extension of the shelf life of chilled foods by using tailored reduced energy heat processes, enhancing quality without compromising safety. The UK Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) recommends “universal adoption” of hazard analysis and HACCP principles set out in CFA’s Best Practice Guidelines and recognises UK prepared food manufacturing industry’s measures to minimise microbiological contamination of foods and their clear differentiation from the approaches of other sectors.
  • 2009 – WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Plan) changes the way domestic food waste is categorised in their calculations, splitting their ‘ready meal’ category so that waste from ‘store bought’ ready meals is kept separate from waste from ‘take-aways’. CFA agrees Chilled Prepared Food Sector Sustainability Aims to encourage minimisation of the sector’s carbon footprint, helping setting performance targets and playing a leading role in the development of Government and industry sustainability policy.

Kaarin Goodburn, CFA’s Secretary General, said, “CFA has come a long way in the past 20 years and has much to celebrate. It has been highly successful in lobbying UK, EU and international authorities to secure appropriate risk-based regulation and policies, equitable enforcement and a wider uptake and recognition of best practice. CFA is recognised as a leader in chilled food hygiene standards and actively promotes and encourages adoption of its standards by other sectors. There is still much work to be done and we look forward to the challenges ahead.”

CFA welcomes clearer classification of food waste (2 February 2009)

The Chilled Food Association (CFA) has welcomed a recent WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) decision to change the way domestic food waste is categorised in their calculations. Accepting that their current terminology is confusing WRAP have now agreed that their “ready meal” category should be split so that waste from “store bought” ready meals is kept separate from waste from “take-aways”.

CFA had criticised WRAP for persistently linking ready meal manufacturers and take- away restaurants when it comes to food waste because it is misleading and damages the perception of ready meals. In its “The Food We Waste” Report, published last summer, WRAP set out domestic food waste as divided into different categories and claimed that 440,000 ‘ready-made meals’ were thrown away by consumers. CFA disputed these figures and pressed for WRAP to change its definition arguing that most of the wastage identified relates to take-aways and not store-bought meals.

Kaarin Goodburn, CFA Secretary General said, “WRAP didn’t understand the impact that their misleading terminology and figures would have on the perception of the sector. In addition, the numbers simply didn’t add up. Estimated waste levels were extremely high compared to the market data. WRAP have since indicated a more realistic estimate of waste from these categories. Of the total 215,000 tonnes, around 81,000 tonnes represents waste from store-bought ready-meals and 88,000 tonnes from take-aways. The remainder is considered impossible to determine. We, therefore, welcome the decision by WRAP to change their terminology which we believe will ultimately lead to more accurate information and improvements in minimising food waste.”

CFA and individual members have been active in waste minimisation for many years, often playing a leading role in the development of research priorities and progressive industry and Government policy. For example, the Defra Food Industry Sustainability Strategy (FISS) Champions Group on Waste was chaired by CFA Member Dr Gus Atri of Northern Foods, and Kaarin Goodburn was a member of the Group.

CFA is actively involved in a range of waste minimisation initiatives including:

  • £750k SUSSLE (Sustainable Shelf Life Extension) research programme to better understand and explore the extension of the shelf life of chilled foods by using tailored reduced energy heat processes, enhancing quality without compromising safety;
  • funding research at Sheffield Hallam University comparing energy usage and waste arising from domestic vs industrial production of lasagne;
  • Defra-funded projects at the Open University investigating attitudes towards organic waste-derived materials, and at Cranfield/IGD on the impact of trade relationships on waste;
  • Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) projects on the usage of waste in agriculture – CFA’s aim being to ensure that appropriate technical standards are in place to prevent the safety of crops being compromised.