A selection of our Members:

  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • Danisco A/S
  • Kraft Foods
  • Kerry Group
  • Heinz
  • GlaxoSmithkline
  • Kellogg's
  • Nestle
  • PepsiCo
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Sainsbury's

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Food Safety and Product Integrity Day - 22 May 2014

Theme: Microorganisms in the Food Supply Chain

With food safety and product integrity under the public spotlight, the focus is, now more than ever, on the manufacturers and retailers to get food safety measures right. If you are involved with food safety or product integrity don’t miss Leatherhead Food Research’s Food Safety & Product Integrity Day. The morning session sees presentations from external and Leatherhead experts on the key microbiological issues facing the industry, currently. The afternoon session takes a more dynamic approach to exploring practical solutions for issues of the moment, including horizon scanning and product-life determination. Of course, the day will also be an opportunity for Members to network and talk to industry colleagues, as well as Leatherhead’s experts who will be on hand to discuss their most recent research and talk to you about the issues that are affecting you.

All presentations we have approval to release will be available for Members to download after the event.

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Programme (Expand/Collapse Details)
Chaired by: Chris Wells, Head of Food Safety & Product Integrity, Leatherhead Food Research


Welcome & Introduction - Food Safety at Leatherhead

Introduction to Leatherhead
Cindy Beeren, Head of Sensory, Consumer & Market Insight, Leatherhead Food Research

Food Safety at Leatherhead
Chris Wells, Head of Food Safety & Product Integrity, Leatherhead Food Research


Foodborne Viral Infections
Prof. Sarah O’Brien, Professor of Infection Epidemiology and Zoonoses, University of Liverpool

Viruses are the most commonly identified cause of gastroenteritis in the UK. However, the burden of viral infections transmitted through the food chain is less well defined. Norovirus is the most commonly recognised foodborne viral infection and is linked to consumption of shellfish and fresh produce and foods contaminated by infected food handlers. Hepatitis E is an increasingly recognised foodborne illness associated with the consumption of processed pork. Sarah will discuss the challenges associated with defining the burden of foodborne viral infections.


Dry Ingredients: Are They Safe?
Dr Paul Gibbs, Food Safety Consultant, Leatherhead Food Research

Although dry conditions prevent the growth of pathogens, these can still survive well during long storage. Considering low numbers of pathogens in foods can cause serious illness, the presence of pathogens in dry foods must therefore be controlled, particularly in ready-to-eat foods. This research focus on survival pathogens throughout processing and storage, whilst highlighting conditions suitable for eliminating pathogens in dry foods and ingredients.


Understanding Campylobacter Biofilms
Rebecca Clarke, University of Surrey

Campylobacter jejuni is the leading bacterial cause of gastroenteritis in the world. Campylobacter is able to form biofilms, which contribute significantly to contamination of meat during the slaughter process. Rebecca will discuss current research surrounding the genetic and metabolic factors influencing Campylobacter biofilm formation in poultry processing plants.


Antimicrobial Resistance – Relevance to the UK Food Industry and Consumer
John Haines, Principal Scientist, Leatherhead Food Research

Antibiotic resistant bacteria in intensively reared farm animals have the potential to spread to humans. Learn more on the relevance to the UK food industry and consumer, and how current research to develop new methods for detection will enable improved surveillance and enforcement strategies.


Opportunities to Reduce Food Waste Through Extending Product Life
Peter Whitehead, Interim Project Manager, WRAP

WRAP will present the results of its most recent research into ways of extending product life in order to reduce both supply chain and household waste. Avoidable food waste from UK retail and household’s amounts to 4.6Mt, of which about 2.4Mt is related to the expiry of product life.


Split Rotating Sessions

Workshop: Food Fraud - Not a New Problem?
Dr Rachel Burch, Chemistry Manager, Leatherhead Food Research

Test your knowledge in an interactive quiz exploring food fraud and authenticity through history. Hear how methodology has developed to keep up with the fraudsters and discuss the future implications for the food industry. What do we need to be doing now to minimise the likelihood of future issues?

Workshop & Demonstration: Horizon Scanning for Emerging Issues
Prof. Tony Hines, Head of Membership & Crisis Manager, Leatherhead Food Research

Challenge and explore HorizonScan with supply chain integrity issues from a fraud, pesticide, veterinary drug residue, emerging issues or food safety perspective. This workshop will investigate commodities, county of origin and suppliers. Specific ‘deep dives’ on issues will be investigated and ‘free search time’ will be available for you to conduct your own searches.

Laboratory Demonstrations: Shelf-Life Solutions
John Haines, Principal Scientist, Leatherhead Food Research 

Leatherhead’s experts will discuss different approaches for establishing the shelf life of various products in an interactive session. You will explore various microbiological strategies, as well as incorporating chemical and organoleptic considerations.

Closing Remarks
Chris Wells, Head of Food Safety & Product Integrity, Leatherhead Food Research
15.45 Opportunity for Networking and CLOSE

Speaker Profiles (Expand/Collapse Details)

Chris Wells, Head of Food Safety & Product Integrity

Chris Wells, Head of Food Safety & Product Integrity
Chris has over 25 years' practical experience in the food industry having worked in technical roles in manufacturing, retail and hospitality across a wide variety of food and non-food categories. He has many years’ experience with the BRC standard having been involved with its original development and UKAS adoption. He is experienced in running risk assessed quality management systems for farm to fork food safety, integrity and quality management. He also has first-hand experience in the practical implications of authenticity issues such as allergen management in the processing environment.

 Dr Paul Gibbs, Consultant in Food Safety and Preservation, Leatherhead Food Research

Dr Paul Gibbs, Consultant in Food Safety and Preservation, Leatherhead Food Research
Paul is a Principal Consultant with over 40 years' experience in Food Microbiology. Paul is a recognized expert in: food spoilage/microbial taint problems, food borne infections and intoxications including Clostridium botulinum, effects of recipe/ingredient and formulation changes on microbiological stability of foods. Paul has been the co-ordinator on several EU-funded RTD projects, e.g. on meat, fish, ‘sous vide’ foods, bottled water, safety and spoilage of cold-smoked fish, and bacteriophages applications.

Paul has a broad appreciation of and experience in the microbiological efficacies of various methods of food preservation against both food-borne pathogens and spoilage organisms; in particular MAP, biological control (bacterial bacteriocin applications), effects of food environments on heat and other microbicidal processes, on microbial resistance mechanisms (e.g. low aW , pH, preservatives). He is currently also an Invited Scientist at Escola Superior de Biotecnologia, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Porto, where he does some teaching at undergraduate and post-graduate level and helps supervise research students' projects. Much of the current research is involved with problems of the occurrence of Listeria monocytogenes in foods and relations with cases of listeriosis.   

John Haines, Principal Scientist, Food Safety, Leatherhead Food Research

John Haines, Principal Scientist, Food Safety, Leatherhead Food Research
John has 23 years’ experience working in the clinical and food sectors, with 16 years’ service at Leatherhead working on the development, optimisation and evaluation of new technologies for the rapid separation, concentration and detection of analytes of importance to food safety and quality; including foodborne bacterial pathogens, toxins, viruses, allergens and adulterated ingredients.  Technologies for separation and concentration include SPE, immunoaffinity, magnetic separation, dielectrophoresis, free flow electrophoresis and molecular imprinting; and for detection include RT-PCR, immunoassay, microarray, optical biosensors and fluorescence microscopy. Current work includes the development of methods for the detection of antibiotic resistant bacteria (e.g. ESBL’s) and virus (HNov and surrogates) inactivation during food processing.

Rebecca Clarke, PhD Student, University of Surrey

Rebecca Clarke, PhD student, University of Surrey
Rebecca graduated from the University of Surrey in 2012 with a BSc (Hons) in Microbiology. During her studies, she worked for Oxoid, ThermoFiosher Scientific, where she focused on the development of novel AST methods and culture media. After her undergraduate degree, she worked on the development of a novel treatment for bovine digital dermatitis, in collaboration between the University of Surrey and a commercial company. In April 2013, Rebecca commenced her PhD studies focusing on Campylobacter biofilms, with a particular interest in the genetic and metabolic factors influencing biofilm formation in poultry processing plants.

Peter Whitehead, Interim Project Manager, WRAP

Peter Whitehead, Interim Project Manager, WRAP
Peter has undertaken work for WRAP as a contractor for almost two and a half years. His role has involved managing a number of WRAP projects, including work on product life. Prior to joining WRAP, Peter worked for IGD, initially on secondment from MAFF, then as a full-time employee. At MAFF, he held a number of roles including managing policies on land management, disposal at sea and competition policy. Peter has a first degree in Economics and a PhD in Geography.

Dr Rachel Burch – Chemistry Research Manager, Leatherhead Food Research

Dr Rachel Burch – Chemistry Research Manager, Leatherhead Food Research
Rachel has worked in various departments at Leatherhead since joining in 1997, and now works in the Food Safety & Product Integrity department, developing the Chemistry Research area. She has worked on a wide range of projects, from development of analytical methods, including methods for the analysis of synthetic antioxidants, to the assessment of factors affecting acrylamide formation in domestic cooking.


Prof. Sarah O’Brien, Professor of Infection Epidemiology and Zoonoses, University of Liverpool
Sarah O'Brien is an Academic Public Health Physician whose research interests include gastrointestinal infection, food safety and foodborne zoonoses. She has published widely on these subjects with over 150 academic papers to her name. Her current interdisciplinary research portfolio amounts to over £10M with funding from the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, the National Institute for Health Research and the UK Food Standards Agency. Previously, she was Head of Gastrointestinal Diseases Division at the (then) Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections, where she was responsible for assessing data and generating, through surveillance and research, the evidence base for the origins and spread of gastrointestinal infection. Currently, she chairs the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food.

Location (Expand/Collapse Details)

Leatherhead Food Research is based in Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 7RY, UK. All Forum Days take place at our facilities.

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