Stephen Walford

In a first for the country, South Africa recently held a meeting of the International Commission for Uniform Methods of Sugar Analysis (ICUMSA).

The 31st meeting of ICUMSA was hosted by the South African National Committee at the Marriot Protea Hotel Kruger Gate from the 26-29 August 2018. In addition to the reviewing of the studies undertaken in the different subject areas, the meeting included an ICUMSA Method Writing Workshop and a visit to the Malelane mill.

From left: The Method Writing Workshop. The boma being prepared for the Congress dinner. ICUMSA secretary (Dr Hanjo Puke – right) thanking the outgoing president Geoff Parkin for 12 years of service to ICUMSA.

ICUMSA is the only international organisation involved with the development of analytical methods for use within the sugar industry. The analysis of sugar products and associated factory streams requires documented, unambiguous analytical methods that can be used in any sugar laboratory and provide accurate and precise results. The development and testing of these methods is ICUMSA’s role. ICUMSA methods are recognised by authorities such as the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the International Organization of Legal Metrology, the European Union and the United States Food Chemicals Codex.

ICUMSA is made up of National Committees from more than twenty member countries, including South Africa. Work within ICUMSA is carried out under various sections, known as Subjects, each supervised by a Referee. New or revised analysis methods are reviewed and considered for acceptance at an ICUMSA meeting, which is held every 

two years.

Forty five (45) delegates and accompanying persons attended the meeting from 10 different countries. Members of the local South African Committee who attended the meeting included Seelan Naidoo (SASA CTS), Dr Richard Simpson (Illovo), Dr Vezekile Dladla (SMRI) and Stephen Walford (SA National Chairperson, SMRI). A total of 31 recommendations from ten subjects for further study in the coming two years were agreed by the delegates. A highlight of the conference was the official conference dinner held in a boma under the stars on the second night of the meeting to the accompaniment of a local marimba band and the cries of hyena close by. The function was used to bid farewell to the outgoing ICUMSA president Geoff Parkin who had held the position for 12 years and welcome in the new President, Martjin Leijdekkkers from the Netherlands.

The 32nd meeting of ICUMSA will be held in Vienna in Austria in 2020.

Stephen Walford  

from SMRI is Chairman of ICUMS's South African National Committee