AS SUPERVALU announced its bursaries - worth pounds 1,840 in support of the MSc in Food Safety Management at Queen's University of Belfast - there was more good news on the food safety front.
For the first time in 20 years, the number of reported cases of food poisoning in Northern Ireland has decreased with provisional data suggesting that numbers fell by 26 per cent in 2001 compared to 2000.
Professor Arthur Gilmour, Course Director, MSc in Food Safety Management welcomed the development.
"A decrease in the number of reported food poisoning cases is a sign that education and training in the area of food safety is undoubtedly having measurable effects,'' he said.
"Local supermarket chain, SuperValu, has recognised the merits of the MSc in Food Safety Management in its provision of bursaries to three students undertaking the course.''
In Northern Ireland, the food industry is one of the most important sectors of the economy, in terms of employment and outputs.
The MSc in Food Safety Management educates students on legislation, quality assurance, HACCP, hygienic design of food factories, processing equipment and developments in food science to ensure a safe, wholesome and profitable food supply.
"Campylobacter and Salmonella are still the two most significant causes of illness but both of these showed a significant drop in cases last year,'' he added.
Christine McCamphill, Marketing Manager, Musgrave SuperValu-Centra, said: "SuperValu recognises the cost associated with part-time study but also acknowledge that developing expertise in the agri-food sector will further develop the industry as a whole. …