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Rose Sandilands

Rose Sandilands

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Hi, my name is Rose and I work for the Isle of Man Government as an Analytical Chemist and a Public Analyst.

I upgraded an Advanced Diploma in Analytical Chemistry in 1998 with a BSC (Hons) with the Open University in 2002.

To begin with, my early career was as an Analytical Chemist in a Public Analyst Laboratory in Glasgow. Here I tested drinking water, food and alcohol for quality, substitution and contamination. I also did microbiology testing of bathing water, radioactivity in food and the environment, trade effluents discharges, rainwater and air pollution monitoring. In addition to this, my role involved testing consumer products such as soft toys for eye-pulling tests and flammability.

One area I was particularly interested in was analytical instrumentation techniques for food and drink. I therefore specialised in this area using Gas Chromatography, Liquid Chromatography, UV, Vis etc. In 2015 this led to a role as a trainee assistant Public Analyst at Edinburgh Public Analyst Laboratory where I became Head of Food Chemistry.

Later, in 2021, I was awarded a Mastership in Chemical Analysis (MChemA). This is a post graduate qualification, awarded by the Royal Society of Chemistry and is a statutory qualification requirement for Public Analysts. In August 2021 this enabled me to take up the position as Government Analyst on the Isle of Man.

The MChemA is a specialist postgraduate qualification that is achieved via an exam that verifies knowledge and understanding of food and drinking water and their potential defects. It also involves interpreting food and drinking water regulations, and the application and interpretation of chemical analysis for food law and drinking water quality enforcement.

A little bit about Public Analysts and UK Food Safety legislation

In the UK the primary Food Safety legislation is the Food Safety Act 1990. This requires all local authorities to appoint a Public Analyst, although there have always been fewer Public Analysts and their laboratories than local authorities. This means most Public Analysts are shared by a number of local authorities.

In 1993 there were 34 Public Analyst Laboratories and around 80 Public Analysts. By 2010 the number had reduced to 22 labs and only about 26 Public Analysts. As of 2022 there are only 15 laboratories remaining in the UK – which has become a concern and more people are needed in this profession.

The Public Analysts’ Laboratories must be third-party accredited to the International Standard BS EN ISO/IEC 17025:2017. The Government Analyst Laboratory in Douglas is accredited to this standard.

In my spare time I am a competitive Field Archer and was Scottish Field Archery Champion in 2021 and Scottish Indoor Champion in 2022.