THE retired chairman of Shaw's of Huddersfield has won a top industry award for his handling of a food safety scare.
Martin Shaw, of Fenay Bridge, has been named the 2004 Food Industry Personality of the Year.
He was nominated after coming out of retirement last August, when chilli powder imported by Shaw's was found to be contaminated.
Mr Shaw, who beat 69 other nominees to the award said: "I'm very honoured.
"The difficult sequence of events which led to my nomination is behind us and I can now savour happier memories of this unfortunate episode."
Shaw's, of Aspley, has specialised in powders, sauces, chutneys and relishes for 115 years.
The crisis developed last year after a chilli power imported by Shaw's from India was contaminated by an illegal dye, Sudan 1.
The dye, which is used in 14 of Shaw's products, can cause cancer.
The business was on annual shutdown when the discovery was made and the management on holiday.
So Mr Shaw stepped into the breach.
He and a skeleton team sought advice from the Leatherhead Food Research Association and recalled all affected products.
The Food Standards Agency later discovered that Shaw's was the first of hundreds of producers world-wide whose goods had been affected.
Fortunately, Shaw's had changed their chilli powder supplier in January 2003 and production since February 1 had been unaffected.
Consumer confidence was soon restored.
It was the first time such an incident had occurred at the company since Mr Shaw joined in 1953.
He stepped quietly back into retirement after the crisis, but his positive leadership style had been noted and he was nominated for Personality of the Year.
Readers of Food Processing magazine voted him winner at a convention in Surrey.
The citation said: "It is the belief of many that with his gracious behaviour and gentlemanly manner, Martin has triumphed where men of lesser character would have failed."