To enable us to achieve our goals, we have enlisted some of New Zealand's most experienced and talented people and engaged with international leaders in food safety research.

Management and Administration:

Dr Cath McLeod

Catherine (Cath) has led interdisciplinary food safety research programmes combining molecular biology, microbiology, chemistry, statistics and risk assessment in New Zealand, Australia, France and the UK. She has produced a number of peer reviewed publications and book chapters, mainly focused on the safety of seafood and fresh produce, as well as delivering over 80 authoritative presentations on food safety over the last decade.

Cath is currently a member of the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre’s (SAIC) Independent Science Panel and has held the roles of Chair of SafeFish (Australia), Chair of the Australian Quality Assurance Advisory Committee, Chair of the International Molluscan Shellfish Safety Conference (ICMSS), member of the Australian delegation to the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene and theme leader for food safety and market access at the Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre (ASCRC). She is also an Honorary Associate of the University of Tasmania.

Cath has held diverse roles within the regulatory, scientific and food industry sectors giving her insight into the key drivers and challenges faced by each group in this critical tri-partite relationship. She is particularly skilled at working with industry and regulatory groups to identify food safety and market access challenges and developing multi-agency research programmes to address key issues.

Cath’s most recent positions include Director of the consultancy company Seafood Safety Assessment Ltd., where she focused on providing food safety and market access advice to primary producing industries, retailers and government. Cath was also the Leader of the Seafood Safety and Market Access Group within the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) from 2008 to 2013 and was a senior science advisor within the Ministry for Primary Industries from 2000 to 2007.

Cath’s qualifications include an MSc (hons) on marine biotoxins in shellfish and a PhD on foodborne viruses from Victoria University of Wellington (funded by an ESR post-graduate scholarship), giving her an overarching perspective on two major human food safety issues

Dr Tim Harwood

“Dr Harwood is a marine toxin chemist based at the Cawthron Institute in Nelson. He is proud to be involved with the New Zealand Food Safety Science & Research Centre as Deputy Director and leader of the chemometrics science platform.

Tim also leads the MBIE SSIF funded Seafood Safety programme, which is a collaborative multidisciplinary research programme involving scientists from around the country. The programme shares his vision for New Zealand to be a leader in the safety of seafood exports and development of tools/systems for ensuring safety. A recent example of his work is the development of a new improved analytical test method for routine regulatory monitoring of paralytic shellfish toxins. Implementation of this method in the routine Cawthron Biotoxin Laboratory has resulted in benefits for industry, including faster turnaround times, better accuracy and overall cost savings. 

Dr Harwood’s research is internationally recognised, with collaborative projects with scientists from Australia (SARDI), Japan (National Research Institute of Fisheries Science), French Polynesia (Institute Louis Malardé) and England (Cefas).”

Distinguished Professor Nigel French

Nigel is Distinguished Professor of Food Safety and Veterinary Public Health at Massey University, New Zealand. He is Executive Director of the Infectious Disease Research Centre (, specialising in research and training in molecular epidemiology, food safety and the control of infectious diseases. Nigel has led a number of One Health inter-disciplinary research programmes, combining microbiology, molecular biology and modelling, in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom. He has published over 300 peer-reviewed journal articles, and 9 book chapters; many in the area of food safety and public health. Nigel is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, a Fellow of Food Standards Australia New Zealand, a member of the New Zealand Food Safety and Assurance Advisory Council. He has held honorary/visiting professorships at the Universities of Liverpool and Surrey in the UK and the University of Otago Medical School in New Zealand. He was the recipient of the Massey University Research Medal in 2012.

Prior to joining Massey University in 2004, Nigel held a number of academic positions at the University of Bristol and, between 1996 and 2004, at the University of Liverpool, where he was Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology. Although his current focus is on molecular epidemiology of bacterial pathogens, he has also published extensively in the fields of equine welfare (colic and racing injuries), ruminant parasitology (ectoparasites and tick borne disease) and the health and productivity of smallholder dairy farming in East Africa. He graduated as a veterinary surgeon from the University of Bristol in 1987, and in 1993 he was awarded a PhD (Bristol) and a Masters degree in epidemiology (University of London, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), funded by a Wellcome Trust Research Training Fellowship in Clinical Epidemiology.

Dr Gale Brightwell

Dr Brightwell was appointed to the role of NZFSSRC Associate Director in October 2016. In addition to this role, Gale is the Science Team Leader for AgResearch’s Food Assurance team. Over the last 15 years Dr Brightwell has built excellent working relationships with a number of important stakeholders both within the meat industry and wider fields. She has been active in developing these relationships along the whole farm to fork continuum to integrate scientific outcomes into practical solutions for both the dairy and meat primary sector industries.

Ms Wendy Newport-Smith

Wendy joined the NZ Food Safety Science & Research Centre as Manager in May 2016, having spent the previous six years managing the Allan Wilson Centre, a national virtual scientific network, and one of New Zealand's seven Centres of Research Excellence. Prior to coming to Massey University in 2010, Wendy was Director of Adult Continuing Education at Queen Elizabeth College in Palmerston North. Wendy’s extensive experience in leadership and management across the education sector is supplemented by a Master of Management degree and a Master of Business Administration (Distinction) from Massey University.

Mrs Michal Dunn

Michal comes to the NZ Food Safety Science & Research Centre from Massey University’s Institute of Veterinary, Animal & Biomedical Sciences where she gained significant experience in university systems and administration over several years. Michal has also provided Professor French with support since 2015 and brings a valuable institution-wide perspective to the Centre.

Dr Vivienne Hunt

Dr. Vivienne Hunt has 30 years’ experience in the food and nutrition sectors with marketing and management roles in New Zealand, Europe and Asia. With a background in quality control, research management and commerce, for the last year (as she transitions home to New Zealand), she has been working on the development of collaborative ventures bridging industry and academic organizations.

In Singapore since 2012, Vivienne worked at Abbott Nutrition R&D Asia Pacific, managing science policy and academic partnership for five years. At Abbott the projects she led included food safety capacity building in South East Asia (SEA) and studies on nutrition for vulnerable populations. Previously as Deputy Director at an A*STAR institute, the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, she managed industry liaison for a programme of epigenetic research measuring biomarkers for health. Before moving to Singapore, Vivienne worked at Auckland UniServices managing contract research and leading industry engagement for the food and health research programme at the University of Auckland.

Vivienne has worked in commercial roles in London, managing the supply of European cooked meats from the Netherlands to UK supermarkets and as Commercial Manager for the UK Provisions Trade Association. In New Zealand, her commercial roles included Marketing Manager of Kraft Foodservice and key account management at Tegel Poultry. Vivienne’s first role was as a laboratory technician at the Auckland Milk Corporation where she rose to Chief Analyst then Quality Control Manager.

Vivienne received her PhD in Management and International Business from the University of Auckland. Her research focused on the enablers and barriers that can impact on female career progress, using case study methodology to explore different company approaches. She holds an MBA from the University of Auckland, a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health Nutrition from the Public Health Foundation of India, and a New Zealand Certificate of Science in Microbiology from AUT University. She is a current member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Since 2013, Vivienne has been on the board of the NZ Chamber of Commerce Singapore, being elected as Vice President in 2015 and President in 2016 when she chaired an executive board of ten, fostering business engagement for New Zealand companies operating in Singapore and the region. She is a Beachhead Advisor for NZTE South East Asia and an Academic Trustee for the Australia NZ branch of the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI).

Ms Glenda Lewis

Glenda is a freelance science writer and communications adviser, contracted to the Centre. She has a broad knowledge of the biological and physical sciences.

She was formerly communications manager at the Royal Society of NZ, and was elected a Companion in 2012 for her work in science promotion and education. Her forte is conceiving and executing exciting flagship themes such as the Transit of Venus, Are Angels OK? and From Africa to Aotearoa – the longest journey.

Glenda has worked with the Centre Director Nigel French, and Manager Wendy Newport-Smith, for many years as adviser to the Allan Wilson Centre.

Her interest in sustainable land/water use and food security has developed through a 2016 Winston Churchill Fellowship.

Laura Biessy

Laura is a marine scientist with the Coastal and Freshwater group at the Cawthron Institute in Nelson and received one of the inaugural PhD scholarship from the NZFSSRC in 2017. Her projects aimed to investigate the source and transmissions of tetrodotoxin in New Zealand shellfish and marine food webs.

During her time at Cawthron Laura has worked in various roles, including in the food chemistry IANZ accredited laboratory, as senior research technician for the Environmental Toxicology and Technologies team, and as scientist researching seafood safety and toxic microalgae (with a specific focus on toxic cyanobacteria and marine dinoflagellates and their impact on aquaculture species). Laura has expertise in the use of molecular techniques to monitor and understand aquatic organisms and habitats (high-throughput sequencing, qPCR, ddPCR and metagenomics) and is working on a range of research projects funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (e.g., Safe New Zealand Seafood Programme, Lakes380). Laura also leads the Early Career Research group at the Cawthron Institute.

Science Leadership Team:

Professor Phil Bremer (Chair)

Professor Phil Bremer, is in the Food Science Department at the University of Otago. He applies a multi-disciplinary approach involving microbiology, chemistry, sensory science and product development, to gain an understanding of how factors such as raw material selection, product formulation, processing steps, packaging design, storage conditions, sanitation regimes (particularly to control biofilms) and product form impact on a food’s safety, stability (shelf-life), quality (taste, appearance, texture), reputation (consumer perception) and ultimately it’s value in the market place.

Professor Bremer has worked with a wide range of companies on dairy, vegetable, seafood, meat, beer and wine related projects. Phil lectures in the areas of food microbiology, risk assessment and regulation and has had extensive experience supervising students on industry-funded product development projects.

Prior to joining the University of Otago, Phil worked for 10 years in the Seafood Research Unit (Plant & Food Research) in Nelson. He has published over a 150 scientific articles and is active in the NZ Microbiological Society (Past President), the NZ Institute for Food Science and Technology (Fellow, Member of the Executive) and the New Zealand Association for Food Protection (President).

Dr Gale Brightwell

Dr Brightwell was appointed to the role of NZFSSRC Associate Director in October 2016. In addition to this role, Gale is the Science Team Leader for AgResearch’s Food Assurance team. Over the last 15 years Dr Brightwell has built excellent working relationships with a number of important stakeholders both within the meat industry and wider fields. She has been active in developing these relationships along the whole farm to fork continuum to integrate scientific outcomes into practical solutions for both the dairy and meat primary sector industries.

Associate Professor Patrick Biggs

Associate Professor Biggs completed an undergraduate degree in Applied Biochemistry at Brunel University where he received a first class BSc (Hons) in 1992. He then went on to study a PhD in human familial cancer genetics at the Institute of Cancer Research – part of the University of London – and was awarded a PhD in 1996. His first postdoctoral position was with one of his PhD supervisors at the Institute of Cancer Research (Prof Sir Michael Stratton) looking into familial genes involved in testicular cancer. Continuing the theme of cancer genetics, he then went to Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX, USA for three years (1998 – 2001) to work with Prof Allan Bradley in the study of genes involved in breast cancer.

Associate Professor Biggs returned to the UK in 2001 when Prof Bradley replaced Prof Sir John Sulston as the new Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute near Cambridge. Associate Professor Biggs continued to work with Prof Bradley, and then moved to work with Dr Bill Skarnes as part of a murine stem cell resource generation project, where he developed his interest in the field of computational biology. He was made Group Leader for the project in 2002, and then Informatics Group Leader in 2006 as the project grew in size, a position he held until 2007 when he moved to New Zealand.

Associate Professor Biggs joined Massey University in late 2007 where he worked in collaboration with the Allan Wilson Centre and the Massey Genome Service in next generation sequencing data generation and analysis. It was at this point that he developed his interest in food-borne pathogens, and started his long-term collaboration with Prof Nigel French in the Molecular Epidemiology laboratory within the Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences (IVABS). In 2011, Associate Professor Biggs became a Senior Lecturer in Computational Biology in IVABS – his current position – and split his time between research within the Molecular Epidemiology team and working for the Massey Genome Service. His current research interests are in comparative bacterial pathogenomics, particularly species within the Campylobacter, Salmonella and Escherichia genera. In 2012 he joined New Zealand Genomics Ltd (NZGL) as part of the Massey Genome Service to provide genomics and bioinformatics support, where he is now Bioinformatics Team Leader for a national group of around 15 bioinformaticians from three universities. Currently he is an Associate Editor at PLoS ONE and was on the organising committee for the 18th workshop on Campylobacter, Helicobacter and Related Organisms that was held in Rotorua 2015.

Dr Tim Harwood

Dr Tim Harwood is an analytical chemist based at the Cawthron Institute in Nelson with specialised expertise in the field of marine biotoxin analysis and research. His current research focus is on methods of analysis for paralytic shellfish toxins, and fundamental research on the toxins responsible for ciguatera fish poisoning. Tim leads the MBIE-funded Safe New Zealand Seafood programme that has a research focus on micro-organism risks to seafood, including harmful algae, viruses and bacteria. The programme shares his vision for New Zealand to be a world leader in the safety of seafood exports and development of tools/systems for ensuring safety.

Professor Stephen On

Stephen has been involved with microbiological food safety research since undertaking his PhD in 1989 on diagnostic methods for Campylobacter and related bacteria. Now at Lincoln University, he has over 140 peer-reviewed papers, and leads under- and postgraduate courses, and PhD studies, in food safety and microbial biotechnology. Current projects include: Arcobacter: Molecular epidemiology of antibiotic resistance: Advanced photonic methods for characterising bacteria: Proteomics of winemaking yeast; Metagenomics of wild-fermented wines; Food safety of edible snails in Cameroon: Spectral analysis of fat-filled milk products. He has also been engaged as an expert witness and research consultant in the food safety area.

Prof Brent Young

Professor Brent Young holds a Chair in Food and Process Systems Engineering in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at The University of Auckland.  He is also the Director of the Industrial Information and Control Centre and Chair of the University’s Food and Health Programme.  Brent has significant research and engineering experience and expertise in developing digital models, shadows and twins for food and process systems, which he also teaches on.  A Fellow of both the Institution of Chemical Engineers UK and Engineering NZ, he was the recipient of the 2014 Australasian Award of Excellence in Chemical Engineering (Teaching).  He has published more than 200 refereed publications and is co-author of two novel teaching texts on process control.

Dr Sinisa Vidovic

Sinisa Vidovic is a scientist at the Plant and Food Research Institute, located in Auckland, New Zealand. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Microbiology in 2008 at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, working on the role of the RpoS sigma factor in the stress response of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli. During his post-doctoral studies, he extended his research to the area of clinical microbiology and antimicrobial resistance, introducing comparative genomics with an emphasis on next-generation sequencing. In 2015, he was appointed as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, University of Minnesota, USA. His research at the U of M focused on two distinct areas i) stress physiology and ii) molecular epidemiology of non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS). He has combined both research areas to gain an insight into the molecular basis underlying the stress tolerance of NTS as well as to identify and characterize their highly virulent lineages. 

His research at the Plant and Food Institute is focused on three major themes: i) Vibrio parahaemolyticus genomics ii) determination of the quorum quenching mechanism in Listeria monocytogenes and iii) use of nanotechnology platforms for developing anti-infective molecules or anti-adhesive surfaces against major foodborne pathogens. His long-term objective is the determination of the mechanisms that play a critical role in bacterial colonization and adherence to specific host receptors. Our research group has the potential for the development of novel anti-infective molecules or surfaces significantly resistant to colonization, specifically by Listeria monocytogenes and Vibrio parahaemolyticus. 

Dr Rob Lake

Rob Lake is the Manager of the Risk, Response and Social Systems Group of the Environmental Science Business Group at the Institute of Environmental Science and Research. Based in Christchurch, Rob has worked in food safety risk analysis since 1988, principally for the Ministry for Primary Industries. Projects have included risk profiling, quantitative risk assessments, burden of foodborne disease estimation, expert elicitation, and safety assessment of genetically modified foods. Over the last ten years, Rob has also been active in World Health Organization sponsored projects, estimating the global burden of foodborne disease, and national food safety system needs assessments.

Governance Board:

Collier Isaacs

Collier is an experienced primary industry executive with a broad range of skills and sector knowledge. These have been gained through governance and senior executive positions held along the value chain from the plate to pasture and underpinning marketing, science, tech transfer, quality assurance, regulatory and business development.
This experience is built on sound relationships with the sector commercial participants, industry organisations, Māori and government agencies. Collier was awarded Honorary Lifetime Membership of the NZ Deer Farmers Association for Service to the Deer Industry.
Colliers most recent roles include Chair of DeeResearch and Velvet Antler Research NZ, consulting at the Ministry for Primary Industries, Beef + Lamb NZ and CEO at FarmIQ Systems. Prior to this Collier held senior executive roles at Landcorp Farming, Meat NZ and CEO at Deer Industry NZ.
Collier is a member of the NZ Institute of Directors and NZ Institute of Primary Management.

Dr Anne Astin

Anne is the former inaugural CEO of the Victorian government’s authority, Dairy Food Safety Victoria. She previously held a number of senior executive positions in the Victorian public sector for 30 years working in food policy and regulation, public health, agriculture, minerals and petroleum, natural resources and environment, land administration and forensic science. Prior to this, Anne was a Senior Tutor at Monash University where she conducted biomedical research and lectured to science and medical undergraduates.

Anne is currently Chair of the Board of William Angliss Institute, Food Agility, the SafeFish Partnership and the Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council’s Code of Practice Complaints Committee. She is a member of CSIRO’s Agriculture and Food Advisory Committee and Australia’s Health Star Rating Advisory Committee. More recently she was elected to the Council of Catholic Social Services Victoria and has been an independent member of EnergySafe Victoria’s Audit and Risk Committee since 2011. In 2013, she was appointed to the Panel of the New Zealand Government’s Inquiry into the Whey Protein Contamination Incident.

She is the immediate past Chair and President of the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST), the Australian and New Zealand Implementation SubCommittee for Food Regulation (ISFR) and Wellsprings for Women Inc, a not-for-profit organisation that delivers integration and training programs to isolated women. She has previously held Directorships at Australian Dairy Farmers Ltd., Dairy Australia, the Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens and until April 2011, was Chair of the Victorian Minister’s Women in Primary Industries Advisory Panel.

In 2016 Anne was awarded the John Bryant Gold Medal for outstanding service to the dairy industry. In 2011, she was awarded the Public Service Medal in the Victorian Division of the Queen’s Birthday Honours for her services to the dairy industry, national food regulation and rural women. In 2010, she was inducted into the Victorian Women’s Honour Roll for her work in biochemistry and as an advocate of women’s leadership, and in that year she was awarded the Australian Dairy Industry Council’s Outstanding Service Award in recognition of her leadership to the Australian dairy industry, the first woman to receive this.

Anne has a B.Sc in Chemistry, a B.Sc (Hons) in Biochemistry and a Ph.D (Biochemistry). She has a Graduate Diploma in Public Sector Management and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Dairy Industry Association of Australia.

Mr Greg McCullough

Greg McCullough is the Group Director, Food Safety & Quality and Regulatory Affairs, based in New Zealand. His role is to define and lead the development and implementation of a comprehensive, ‘best in class’ approach to Food Safety & Quality across Fonterra globally. Together with his team and the business units, Greg is responsible for building upon our Food Safety and Quality culture in our journey to be the world’s most trusted source of dairy nutrition.

Greg previously held positions of Vice President Global Quality Management for Mead Johnson and lead a world class Food Safety and Quality organisation.  Prior to that held the Role of Director Quality and Food Safety Asia Pacific for Danone Baby Nutrition.  Over his career he has established an enviable reputation as one of the industry’s most influential leaders in the field of Food Safety & Quality.  Greg is a chemist with a strong micro background.

Greg comes from a family with strong interests in dairy farming and milk production.  He is a Fonterra shareholder and has a wealth of experience in manufacturing across dairy and infant nutrition, including managing plants in China, Indonesia, New Zealand, Thailand and Europe.  Greg has lived and worked in China, Netherlands, Singapore and the USA.

Dr Meika Foster

Dr Meika Foster is the founding director of Edible Research Ltd, a company committed to the translation of scientific food and nutrition research for practical application in government, healthcare, and the food industry. Her distinctive skill set combines qualifications and expertise in nutrition science, Law, and needs assessment and strategy implementation. As an independent researcher with a preference for working in transdisciplinary research environments, Meika is dedicated to advancing the central role of science in legal, economic, social, environmental, and cultural decision-¬making in New Zealand.
Meika’s nutrition science research interests include the impact of dietary patterns, particularly plant-based diets, on health throughout the lifecycle; development and nutritional implications of new high-value food products; land use and environmental sustainability of food; biodiscovery and indigenous organisms; and the role of micronutrients, trace metals, and phytochemicals in health and disease. Meika is an independent researcher with experience working across a number of New Zealand research organisations, as well as with values-based Māori entities, small and medium-sized enterprises, and other stakeholders with food and beverage interests. Among her varied research roles, she is the Science Leader for the Vision Mātauranga Programme of the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge, an Associate Investigator at the Riddet Institute, and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland. Her research interests in Law include cultural and intellectual property rights and the protection of mātauranga Māori. She has worked previously for the New Zealand Law Commission in the Te Ao Māori team promoting the systematic review, reform and development of the law of New Zealand, and in policy as an Effective Practice Consultant and Planning Officer for the London Borough of Newham, UK.
Meika received her PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of Sydney, Australia. She also holds an LLB (Hons) and a BA (Māori language and culture) from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. She is a New Zealand Registered Dietitian (formerly an Accredited Practising Dietitian of Australia), a member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors, and formerly a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.

Mr Jonathan Lane

Jonathan joined MBIE’s Science Investments branch (now called Science System Investment and Performance) in mid-2014. He is the key MBIE contact for the New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre and the Healthier Lives National Science Challenge, and is responsible for MBIE’s Strategic Science Investment Fund (SSIF) Programmes investment (formerly CRI core funding) for Plant and Food Research. Jonathan is also involved with three other National Science Challenges and ESR’s SSIF Programmes investment. Prior to joining MBIE, Jonathan worked in research funding and management in the Tertiary Education Commission and the University of Auckland, and in public sector policy, operational and corporate planning positions. Jonathan has a Master of Arts in Linguistics through the University of Auckland.

Professor Giselle Byrnes

Professor Giselle Byrnes is the Provost at Massey University where she provides strategic academic leadership to the University across the areas of teaching and learning, research and commercialization.

In her role as AVC RAE, Professor Byrnes is responsible for driving the development and implementation of strategies, policies and standards that underpin the delivery of quality research and teaching across the institution. She has executive level oversight of academic quality assurance, academic development, and Massey University’s online learning platform. In her role as AVC RAE, she provides strategic academic leadership and management to the core services for research and researcher development and leads the University’s commercialization and enterprise agenda.

Professor Byrnes is an internationally recognized New Zealand historian and has published widely on aspects of settler colonial and indigenous histories. She has been a Fulbright scholar and has served as President of the New Zealand Historical Association. She has taught at Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Waikato and has held academic and senior management roles in New Zealand and Australia.

International Scientific Advisory Panel:

Dr Leon Gorris

Dr. Leon Gorris was the Director for Regulatory Affairs at Unilever, with specific responsibility for food safety globally. He joined Unilever in The Netherlands in 1997, being located in Vlaardingen, and subsequently was based in the UK from 2001-2010, in Shanghai from 2010-2014 and since October 2014 again in The Netherlands.

Before joining Unilever, Leon worked at the Agrotechnological Research Institute (ATO-DLO) in Wageningen, The Netherlands, which was then part of the Agricultural Research Department, Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries, The Netherlands (1990–1997).

From 2002–2012, Leon Gorris held a part-time professorship serving as the European Chair in Food Safety Microbiology at the University of Wageningen in The Netherlands. He is currently visiting professor at three Universities in China: China Agricultural University’s School of Food Science and Nutrition in Beijing, Shanghai Ocean University and the University of Shanghai for Science and technology.

He is a member of the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF) and represents ICMSF at Codex Alimentarius and in interactions with FAO and WHO.

He is co-chair of the International Expert Panel on Food Safety of IUFoST (the International Union of Food Science and Technology) and has been elected to the International Academy of Food Science and Technology (IAFoST) in 2016.

He was awarded the IAFP International Leadership Award in 2007, selected to present the John H. Silliker Lecturer in 2014 and awarded the IAFP Fellow Award in 2016.

Dr Arnoud van Vliet

Dr Arnoud van Vliet is a Senior Lecturer in Microbiology at the School of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Surrey. His research focuses on zoonotic bacterial pathogens, with an emphasis on those transmitted through the food chain, such as Campylobacter. Despite strong biosecurity measures, Campylobacter is able to persist in the agricultural environment and colonize poultry and farm animals, and is subsequently transmitted via the food chain. While easy to kill in laboratory conditions, Campylobacter is a resilient pathogen that has been able to adapt to changes in agricultural practice and food preparation. His research looks at the role of biofilms in the transmission and persistence of Campylobacter, and investigates the role of genetic diversity between isolates, with the ultimate aim of identifying targets for detection/treatment/vaccination. Other areas of interest are in the use of genome sequencing for a better understanding of virulence mechanisms, immune escape, phage defence and antimicrobial resistance.

Professor Adam Lindgreen

After studies in chemistry (Copenhagen University), engineering (the Engineering Academy of Denmark), and physics (Copenhagen University), Professor Adam Lindgreen completed an MSc in food science and technology at the Technical University of Denmark. He also finished an MBA at the University of Leicester. Professor Lindgreen received his Ph.D. in marketing from Cranfield University. He has been a professor of marketing at Hull University’s Business School (2007-2010), the University of Birmingham’s Business School (2010) where he also was the research director in the Department of Marketing, and the University of Cardiff’s Business School (2011-2016). Under his headship of the Department of Marketing and Strategy at Cardiff Business School, the department was ranked first among all marketing departments in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the US based upon hg indices of senior faculty. Since 2016, he has been Professor of Marketing at Copenhagen Business School, where he also heads the Department of Marketing.

Professor Lindgreen has been a Visiting Professor with various institutions, including Georgia State University, Groupe HEC in France, and Melbourne University. His publications have appeared in Business Horizons, California Management Review, Industrial Marketing Management, International Journal of Management Reviews, Journal of Advertising, Journal of Business Ethics, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, Journal of Marketing Management, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Journal of World Business, Psychology & Marketing, and Supply Chain Management: An International Journal.

Professor Lindgreen’s books include A Stakeholder Approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (with Kotler, Vanhamme, and Maon), Managing Market Relationships, Memorable Customer Experiences (with Vanhamme and Beverland), and Sustainable Value Chain Management (with Maon, Vanhamme, and Sen) in addition to several other books.

The recipient of the “Outstanding Article 2005” award from Industrial Marketing Management and the runner-up for the same award in 2016, Professor Lindgreen serves on the board of several scientific journals; he is co-editor-in-chief of Industrial Marketing Management and previously was the joint editor of Journal of Business Ethics for the section on corporate responsibility. His research interests include business and industrial marketing management, experiential marketing, and corporate social responsibility. Professor Lindgreen has been awarded the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Executive Teaching. He has examined (dissertations, modules, and programs) at numerous institutions including Australian National University, Unitec, University of Amsterdam, University of Bath’s Management School, University of Lethbridge, and University of Mauritius.

Professor Lindgreen is a member of the International Scientific Advisory Panel of the New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre, and he is a member of the Chartered Association of Business Schools’ Academic Journal Guide (AJG) Scientific Committee in the field of marketing.

Professor Lindgreen has discovered and excavated settlements from the Stone Age in Denmark, including the only major kitchen midden—Sparregård—in the south-east of Denmark; because of its importance, the kitchen midden was later excavated by the National Museum and then protected as a historical monument for future generations. He is also an avid genealogist, having traced his family back to 1390 and published widely in scientific journals (Personalhistorisk Tidsskrift, The Genealogist, and Slægt & Data) related to methodological issues in genealogy, accounts of population development, and particular family lineages.

Dr Lisa Szabo

Lisa joined the New South Wales Food Authority as its chief scientist in January 2006 and became its chief executive officer in 2015. The Food Authority is a statutory authority in Australia's most populous state and is responsible for food regulation across the food supply chain.

Prior to joining the New South Wales Food Authority, Lisa worked at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation for 11 years. There she led and managed long-term research projects for various food industry sectors.

Lisa has a Bachelor of Science degree with Honours and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in microbiology from the University of Queensland. She had post-doctoral research experiences in the United Kingdom and Germany. Lisa has been an expert advisor or member on several international, national, and state government inquires and committees. In the Australia New Zealand bi-national food regulatory system, Lisa represents the interests of New South Wales.

Dr Andrew Pearson

Dr Andrew Pearson is a Senior Environmental Consultant at Tonkin+Taylor. Andrew’s area of expertise is in environmental chemistry and chemical risk assessment. Andrew’s technical work programme covers contaminants across all environmental media and a particular focus on emerging contaminants. Andrew has worked on chemical risk assessment for over 16 years with previous roles in regulatory food safety at the Ministry for Primary Industries. 

Past regulatory projects have included natural and anthropogenic radionuclides, inorganic arsenic, perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) and pyrrolizidine alkaloids, as well as chairing the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Contaminants in Food (CCCF) working group to establish maximum levels for methylmercury in fish species. Andrew was also the technical lead for the 2016 New Zealand Total Diet Study. 

Andrew is currently listed on the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives expert roster for exposure assessment of chemicals in food. 

Andrew maintains active collaborations with New Zealand universities, including involvement on a PhD projects at the University of Canterbury. 

Industry Advisory Group:

Dr Philip Wescombe (Chair)

Philip is the Manager of the Yili Innovation Centre Oceania in New Zealand which is located on the Lincoln University Campus. He obtained his PhD in Microbiology from the University of Otago and joined BLIS Technologies Limited for 14 years focusing on the development and commercialisation of bacteriocin-producing probiotics specifically for application in the oral cavity. During his time at BLIS Technologies he was involved at various times across all the scientific, manufacturing and regulatory activities of the Company required to bring the probiotics to market. While much of his work has been industry related he has published a number of peer-reviewed publications relating to safety and efficacy of probiotics highlighting a willingness to collaborate closely with the academic community and share results.

Since joining Yili Group and their subsidiary Company Oceania Dairy Limited in 2015, he has managed the Yili Innovation Centre Oceania as part of the global strategy of Yili to access international expertise and continually improve both the Science behind Yili’s product offerings and the internal capability that has underpinned the Company’s success to date.

Ms Farzana Adams (IAG Rep - NZFSSRC Board)

Farzana Adams is the Head of Global Quality and Technical for Zespri.  She leads a team which ensures that Zespri Kiwifruit is grown, packed, stored and delivered through the global supply chain in a compliant, safe and sustainable manner.

Before joining Zespri, Farzana held a number of quality, food safety, compliance and sustainability roles in the food and pharmaceutical industries including with MSD Animal Health, Inghams Enterprises, Bumble Bee Seafoods, Coca Cola Bottling and Shafer Haggart Ltd.

Farzana grew up in the Fiji Islands and also lived in Australia and Canada before moving to New Zealand. She has supported primary and secondary processing in various global locations including; USA, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Mauritius, Ecuador, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Papua New Guinea. Her qualifications include a Master of Science in Food Safety and a Graduate Certificate in International Food Law from Michigan State University, Master of Business Administration from Australian Institute of Business, Graduate Certificate in Pharmaceutical Good Manufacturing Practices from University of Technology Sydney, and Bachelor of Science in Applied Microbiology and Food Technology from University of South Australia.   

Outside of work, Farzana enjoys spending time with her husband, Wayne, 4 children - Hamish, Sarah, Bradley and Kym - and 4 grandchildren – Jacob, Blake, Mia and Harry. She is also a keen snow-skier, and enjoys yoga and stand-up paddle boarding. 

Ms Kaylene Larking

Kaylene Larking is an industrial chemist with 10 years’ experience managing research companies responsible for collaborative Research and Development portfolios for the agricultural sector. She has managed three different Government/Industry funded Research Partnerships over that period and is currently the Manager of MIA Innovation Limited for the Meat Industry Association; which seeks to improve returns from red meat for meat processors. The challenge of working across various science disciplines with multiple industry organisations and research providers has helped shape her understanding and appreciation of R&D in the agricultural sector.

Dr Pierre Venter

Dr Pierre Venter (PhD) is currently the General Manager of Innovation Services at Fonterra’s Research and Develop Centre based in New Zealand. He is an experienced academic (Professor Food Safety Microbiology, before joining Fonterra) and applied scientist in the dairy industry. His research interests are primarily around food safety risk assessment and the science that underpins food safety & quality risk management, fundamental food microbiology, risk frameworks, and new technology application in risk assessment. Pierre has published several peer reviewed papers, several book chapters, patents, and technical reports and represents the food industry on several international counsels. He is passionate about developing people and leading groups towards achieving strategic goals.


Ms Emma Wheeler

With a focus on food, health & wellness, agriculture, and technology, Emma has extensive experience across the agri-food sector globally and in New Zealand. She is currently head of Strategy at Trust Codes and has experience in strategy and professional services through her work in agri-food in New Zealand and globally.

Prior to joining Trust Codes, Emma was a Senior Manager at KPMG working alongside KPMGs Global head of Agri-Food. In this role she advised and worked alongside her clients and industry partners to ensure they are equipped with world class industry knowledge and consumer trends insights and foresight. In a lot of her work she has a focus on the role technology has and the intersection in current trends to super-charge the sector.

Emma specialises in global insight and foresight with regards to food, consumer trends, agriculture, health, nutrition and ag and how technologies and innovation are intersecting these areas, transforming the food system.

Emma has had work published globally in numerous publications and on behalf of clients. She speaks at various industry events and has co-authored the KPMG Agribusiness Agenda, an annual series of thought leadership reports with KPMGs global head of agribusiness.

Kyle Geary

Kyle Geary
Business Development
Eagle Protect - NZ/USA
BDM for Eagle Protect New Zealand and also support our USA office based in South Lake Tahoe in California. 
Eagle has a great reputation for Food Safety disposable products designed for Meat and Food processing markets. 
Eagle are a proud B-Corp and were the first NZ company to gain B-Corp accreditation. We are also the only B-Corp in the PPE Food Safety space.

My role is predominantly servicing the Beef, Lamb, Poultry and Food Processing industry. I am lucky to have been able to work with most of New Zealand's major Meat and Food producers, assisting them with their PPE requirements. I am also excited to now be involved with the US Meat and Food industry, a huge and vitally important part of the US economy. For both NZ and the USA, being part of a business that ensures food is handled safely and is also protecting workers is very satisfying.

My role covers some intense travel schedules both in NZ and the USA, and I enjoy this part of my work with Eagle. I get to meet some very good people and see some amazing places. 
I have 25 years experience in the supply of safety and PPE products, and have been with Eagle as part owner for close to 15 years. Eagle Protect is based in Christchurch but I am based on the Taieri plains near Dunedin. In between work travel I enjoy time spent in Central Otago, generally on a Bike or on the golf course. Married with a teenage son first year at Otago University. 

Dahlia Kilkelly

Dahlia Kilkelly currently holds the role of Systems and Compliance Manager at Synlait Milk Limited and heads up the team supporting Food Safety and Quality Standards, Supplier Qualification, Customer QA support and Quality Systems. Before joining Synlait Dahlia held a number of supply chain and quality roles in animal and consumer health, food and pharmaceutical industries with DEC NZ and GlaxoSmithKline based in the UK.