Fond farewells and new beginnings for PASS

Alan Richards, Head of Scientific Services, will retire this June after six years at the helm of the Public Analyst Scientific Services (PASS).
Alan has been in his role since PASS was set up in autumn 2011, and has a proud history in food, water and environmental analysis stretching back more than 40 years.

He first joined what was then the Regional Public Analysts Service, in Durham in 1974, qualifying as Public Analyst in 1990.

He spent three years with Scottish & Newcastle Breweries as Senior Chemist and Project Chemist, before returning to Durham in 1993 as Head of the Service and Public Analyst, a role he held for 17 years before moving starting a new career at Eurofins.

Alan said: "Moving to the private sector was a breath of fresh air. With a strong team behind me we were very successful in growing the PASS business over the first few years and increasing our presence within Eurofins. It was a challenge but one that was very enjoyable and motivating."

Having dedicated his working life to chemical analysis and analytical science, Alan has been a member and chairman of many notable government committees, focus groups and agencies, President of the Association of Public Analysts and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. As Chief Examiner for the Mastership of Chemical Analysis, he showed a commitment to securing a future for younger people wanting to develop in the profession.

Speaking of his plans for the future, Alan said he was looking forward to retiring to Spain for a few years before returning to UK to build a bungalow for himself and his wife.

Alan will be succeeded by current Deputy Head of Scientific Services, Liz Moran.

Liz said Alan's wealth of experience and knowledge of the industry have been invaluable and that he would be "greatly missed".

She added: "Alan and I have worked together over the past six years to build PASS up into the leading provider of public analyst services in the UK. He has contributed so much to the success of PASS and now deserves to be able to put his feet up and retire."

Looking forward to her new role, Liz said that the changing regulatory environment for the food industry will bring opportunities for food scientists with expertise in legal compliance, adding that not only would public analysts have the opportunity to assist food businesses at the testing stage, but also in identifying risks at the production stage and determining which ingredients or products to test.

Liz said her initial priorities would be to continue to support the food complaints testing service, which has experienced growth in the last year.

"The public expect that the food they buy is genuine and safe to eat," Liz said, "and we will be working with regulatory authorities, food businesses and consumers to ensure the authenticity and quality of all food sold in the UK.

"Word is getting out in the food industry that we can bring our expertise to bear on foreign bodies or materials in food as well as taste and odour taints and investigation of production problems."