Government officials are spending quality time with manufacturers as part of a new food chain initiative. The Food and Drink Federation has launched a joint programme with DEFRA in which six companies are taking part in this year. The DEFRA Visits Programme aims to give department officials a view of the industry and the FDF promises that even more companies will get involved next year. FDF director general Sylvia Jay said: "Someone in DEFRA ­ it doesn't matter where ­ can contact the food manufacturers and have a day or a week-long visit, in a programme to be mutually agreed. It's a very interesting initiative and will allow them to experience life in the company and get to know more about it." The FDF lined up Cadbury Schweppes, Kraft Foods, Campbells, Heinz, Uniq and UB to take part. Kraft Foods corporate affairs manager Joanna Scott said: "Two officials spent a day with us in early November, and it was mutually beneficial. "The officials felt they had a much better understanding of the complexities of how we interact with our stakeholders, and our team got a better understanding of how a big government department operates. "Our doors are open for further visits, and there is the possibility of secondments of people from Kraft to Defra." l See Opinion, p16 {{NEWS }}