The Knowledge Network Expert Group is a group of ten experts from food industry, research and public health. The role of the Expert Group is to guide the Knowledge Network activities and advise topics such as trianing and supports, new services for members and insights around food safety risks.
Meet the Knowledge Network Expert Group
Jenny Morris is an independent food safety consultant with considerable experience of working in both the public and private sectors. Now running her own company, Morrjen Consulting Ltd, she provides advice to businesses and organisations in the UK and beyond. Her particular expertise is in working with small catering businesses, where she is able to apply her knowledge from working as an environmental health officer combined with the practical understanding gained from having trained as a chef and managed a small catering business.
Jenny is currently the food safety advisor for the Nationwide Caterers Association ( a trade association for independent, small catering businesses) and is listed on the UK Food Standards Agency Register of Specialists. She is a member of a number of specialist groups looking at matters such as modernising regulation, sharing best practice and updating technical guidance.
Jenny is a Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and a fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health. She was awarded an MBE in 2014 for Services to Environmental Health.
Prior to setting up her own consultancy Jenny worked, for 15 years, as the Food Safety specialist for the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. During that time, she was seconded to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic games (LOCOG), where she was responsible for food safety at all London 2012 venues across the UK. She has also served, for 9 years, as a member of the UK Government’s Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food and worked with senior food safety practitioners across Europe, as Secretary to the Food Law Enforcement Practitioners Forum (FLEP).
She has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Health, a Master’s degree in Food Safety, Hygiene and Management and a Master’s degree in Business Administration ( Public sector).
Chris is currently Professor of Food Safety and founder of the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast. He served as Pro Vice Chancellor responsible for the Medical and Life Sciences Faculty between 2015 and 2018. He has published more than 400 peer review articles, many of them relating to the detection and control of agriculture, food and environmental related contaminants. His main research interests are in the development of innovative techniques to provide early warning of threats across complex food supply systems. Protecting the integrity of the food supply chain from fraud is also a key research topic and Chris led the independent review of Britain’s food system following the 2013 horsemeat scandal. He currently co-ordinates a large Horizon2020 flagship project involving 16 European and 17 Chinese partners on food safety and also co-ordinates a European Institute of Innovation and Technology flagship research project. He is currently leading a multi-partner bid to establish a centre of excellence in food integrity.
Over the years Chris has developed a high level network of collaborators across Europe, the United States, the Middle East and Asia. He is a visiting Professor at the China Agriculture University in Beijing and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a recipient of a Winston Churchill Fellowship and is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, Royal Society of Biology. Chris has received numerous prizes and awards for his work. In 2017 he was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry Theophilus Redwood Prize and was also awarded an OBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Dr Rachael Singleton
Rachael Singleton is a Behavioural Scientist in the Northern Ireland Public Sector Innovation Lab. Here, she takes a User-Centred Design approach to tackling difficult to resolve policy and societal issues – ranging from obesity to debt, and anywhere in between - by bringing innovative and lateral thinking from a Behavioural Science perspective.
A recent project saw debt of £1.15million being recouped through one behaviourally informed letter. She is the Northern Ireland representative on the European Behavioural Insights Forum and engages with labs globally to improve their respective approaches to behaviour change. By bringing an understanding of human behaviour, and what influences it, she designs practical, fit for purpose interventions taking a rigorous, analytical approach that identifies baseline data in order to allow for comparative post trial measurement.
Rachael loves collaborating in order to apply theory to a ‘real world’ context. With 12 years’ policy and legislation experience she is delighted to be in a unique position to influence change and to help shape a society that better meets its citizens’ needs. When she is not trying to save the world, Rachael enjoys being outdoors with her teenage son - and will continue to do so until she manages to ruin his street cred.
Mr Michael Bell
Michael Bell is Executive Director of NI Food and drink LTD and as over thirty-four years’ experience in food He started his career in the bakery industry in Northern Ireland and Malta.
He has a primary honours Degree in Food Science. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology (FIFST). He is a Chartered (Food) Scientist (CSci). He is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors (FIoD) and is a Chartered Director. (CDir).
He holds a Leaders in Industry programme Food and Drink Manufacturing sector award from The Queens University of Belfast.
He is senior Vice Chairman of the Northern Ireland Agricultural Research and Development Council. He is a member of Safefood Expert Advisory Committee. He is a member of the Northern Ireland Food and Feed Advisory panel for the Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland. He is a board member of Agri-Quest - the Food Innovation Competence Centre. He is an elected Trustee of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust. He was recently elected as Vice President of the Institute of Food Science and Technology.
In his spare time he enjoys sailing, hill walking, good food and drink.
Mr Stephane Durand
Stephane Durand is the manager of the Agri-Food Quest Competence Centre, Queens University Belfast. a membership-based Centre focussing on Research and Innovation project for the Agri-Food businesses of Northern Ireland. The Centre is based at Queen’s University of Belfast within the institute of Global Food Security and is funded by Invest NI to a level of £5m for 5 years
A graduate of Pierre et Marie Curie Paris University in chemistry and biochemistry and has an MSc in Food science and Technology from Montpellier University in France. He has been working for the agri-food industry in the UK for the last 24 years. Firstly as a consultant for the Scottish Salmon Association and for Campden BRI in the area of consumer and sensory sciences, he then joined HP Foods (part of Danone group then) in Food product development and innovation in the Chinese food category. He has been working for 10 years for Moy Park, one of the largest poultry producer in Ireland and the UK. He held various positions from technical to process development to product development, with the last 4 years in Innovation and Transformation.
More recently, he has led a successful bid with QUB for the EIT Food KIC, a large pan-European Competence Centre for the development of entrepreneurs and start-ups, young graduates, new innovations in the area of food and agriculture. The funding is part of Horizon 2020 and will total 400m euros over the next 7 years. He is now a board director for the Local Centre. He has recently been appointed as external scientific expert for FFoQSI in Austria, a large competence centre dedicated to food quality and safety.
Dr Kieran Jordan
Dr. Kieran Jordan is Managing Director of Jordan Food Safety having previously worked in the microbial food safety at the Food Safety Department at Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork. His main areas of interest were the occurrence, detection and survival of foodborne pathogens, such a pathogenic E. coli and L. monocytogenes. Although now retired, he has a continued interest in bridging the knowledge gap in microbiology between research and the food industry, particularly with SMEs. He has been involved in the safefood Knowledge Networks since 2011, organising various events and presenting workshops on food safety.
Dr Hazel Gowland
Hazel is an expert patient advocate, researcher and trainer for Allergy Action and is a visiting fellow of the University of Southampton School of Medicine. Hazel has had severe allergies to nuts and peanuts since early childhood. She was involved in shaping the Anaphylaxis Campaign from 1994 and established Allergy Action, a research and training consultancy in 2000. She is a leading consumer champion, patient representative and expert in food allergy risks. In 2018 she was awarded a PhD for a thesis on Food allergy: innovation in advocacy, research and training to support and protect those at risk.
Her work involves investigating fatal and ‘near miss’ allergic reactions, providing guidance and family support, supplying data to the UK Fatal Anaphylaxis Registry and undertaking investigation and research examining regulatory aspects of consumer protection for those at risk.She continues to shape and deliver allergen management consultancy and training with leading suppliers, manufacturers, caterers and a wide range of food business operators including schools, universities, hospitals and care workplaces. In Scotland, she has co-developed and manages the REHIS Joint Award in Allergy Awareness. She is a member of the Scientific Committee of the IFST and the Food Special Interest Group of the RSPH. She lectures on MSc Allergy programmes at Southampton University and Imperial College, London, and Human Nutrition programmes at the University of Kingston. She works closely with food industry experts and regulators at international, UK and local authority level to support best practice and reduce risks. She has recently been appointed as a member of the Expert Group of the safefood Knowledge Network for the island of Ireland.
Mr Eddie O Neill
Eddie O’Neill is an Artisan Food Specialist and managing director of O' Neill Food Solutions. He is generally speaking the first point of contact for a range of queries from the public including problem solving, product development, equipment and packaging development.
Eddie recently retired as Artisan Food Specialist with Teagasc, which has taken him to Germany, UK, USA and Canada(Newfoundland) and of course throughout Ireland.
He has been involved in the development of a range of award winning food products including Cheeses, Yogurts, Frozen desserts, Sauces and Beverages. Eddie is also a Packaging Technologist and has published papers on chemical migration from packaging into milk and dairy products.
On the Agri Tourism side he has been involved in the development of ‘Cais Aran’ on Inish Mor, Bo Rua cheese in Cork and Donegal Farmhouse Cheese in Kilcar. Killowen Yogurts in Wexford have benefited from Eddie’s expertise and are the only Yogurt company to have won 3 gold stars at the great taste awards.
Ms Irene Collins
Irene is Managing Director of Excellence Ireland Quality Association (EIQA) which is the proud guardian of the Q Mark suite of programmes including the much sought-after Q Mark for Hygiene & Food Safety. Previous to joining EIQA, Irene worked for global foodservices company Compass group as Operations Director with additional responsibility for corporate social responsibility, compliance & quality standards.
Irene is a lifelong and passionate advocate for food safety and is known to say ‘Share what works’ almost daily! She has more than forty years’ experience in the catering and retail sectors and believes that Food Safety is too big a responsibility for any one individual. She believes that Food safety is EVERYONE’S responsibility, that it’s non-negotiable, and that the protocols MUST be followed every day, on every shift and by every employee in the food industry.
She has extensive experience of developing, implementing and monitoring Quality Standards including Q Mark for Hygiene & Food Safety, Q Mark for Quality Management Systems, Q Mark for Accessibility (ABLE), EFQM Business Excellence Model, ISO:17065, ISO: 9002 & ISO: 14001.
Irene is a graduate of UCD & also holds a Diploma in Corporate Direction from UCC, she has a number of food industry qualifications from governing bodies including City & Guilds (C&G), Royal Institute Public Health & Hygiene (RIPHH), Wines and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) and has served on the National council of the Irish Hospitality Institute (IHI) & the NCTB (National Curriculum Training Board). She was instrumental in setting up the Junior Chef Academy in Tallaght Institute of Technology for 14–16 year olds and previously managed the Irish Junior Culinary Team.
She is also interested in the environment and sustainability and is currently a non-executive director of ELVES (producer compliance scheme for end of life vehicles operating in Ireland)
Mr Declan Ferguson
Declan is Technical Director of Finnebrogue Artisan Foods with a demonstrated history of working in the food industry driving innovation and business growth. Declan spent over 10 years’ in London working for Marks & Spencer as a Technologist.
In 2010, Declan took up a new challenge to lead the Technical and Development teams in Tesco Ireland & Northern Ireland and worked on NPD and a quality program benchmark and quality program to ensure the highest quality products.
In 2012 he moved to Genesis Crafty in Magherafelt, a company steeped in family heritage and with a desire to keep their handcrafted credentials to deliver great product quality and a real point of difference to the market place. Genesis Crafty have grown rapidly focusing on new products, where the focus was on delivering points of difference and worked with their retail partners to deliver these messages encompassing a brand refresh and utilising new packaging formats and quality messages on pack for Own Branded products.
In 2014, Declan joined Finnebrogue Artisan. There is a consistent drive to ensure the best products in the market place, to guarantee lead from the front on product innovation and first to market ranges while continually improving on systems and operational performance. There is also a strong determination to use the latest science and technology to ensure they are at the forefront of the market