Meet the Board

Maureen Edmondson


Maureen Edmondson is a food scientist by training and experience. She studied at Queen’s University of Belfast gaining her doctorate in food bacteriology. She is a Fellow of IFST, a Chartered Scientist and Visiting Professor at Ulster University. Maureen worked 20 years for Mars Incorporated where she was responsible for International Scientific Affairs. Maureen served six years as a Board Member for the Food Standards Agency and Chair of the Northern Ireland Food Advisory Committee. She is a Trustee of FareShare, Chair of the Patient and Client Council and of the Northern Ireland Advisory Committee of Ofcom - the UK communications regulator. Passionate about character in leadership, she led Trinity Forum in Europe and now chairs The Renaissance Forum. She is married to Doug, a barrister, and lives in Northern Ireland.

Margaret Patterson

Immediate Past President

Dr Margaret Patterson has a BSc in Food Science, a Masters degree in Organisation and Management and a PhD in Food Microbiology. She is a Principal Scientific Officer and Project Leader at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), based in Belfast and is also an Honorary Reader in the School of Biological Sciences at Queen's University, Belfast, UK. Margaret leads a research team responsible for microbiological aspects of novel food processing technologies. In particular, she has been involved in research on high pressure processing of foods and food irradiation. She also manages the 35 litre commercial high pressure processing facility based at AFBI. She has acted as an External Consultant on Food Safety for the International Atomic Energy Agency, the World Health Organisation and the Food and Agricultural Organisation. She was president of the Society for Applied Microbiology in 2005-2008.

Sterling Crew

Vice President

Sterling is the Head of Technical at Kolak Snack Foods. He has over 30 years' experience and has been a member of IFST throughout his working life. He has worked in retailing with Marks and Spencer and Tesco, as well as in the branded environment with Coca-Cola and Disney. He has been a trustee of a scientific charity and a non-executive Director of two technical social enterprises associated with a charity. Sterling has also sat on the board of a manufacturing PLC.

Sterling is the Chair of the Food Safety Group.

Richard Burt

Honorary Treasurer

Richard Burt obtained a BSc and PhD at the University of Bristol in chemistry. He joined Birds Eye Foods as a management trainee where he gained valuable experience in the food industry in a number of production and product development posts. In 1975, he joined the Food Science Division of the former Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food where he provided scientific advice on a range of issues concerning the safety and composition of food including the negotiation of EU and international food standards. In 2000, he moved to the new Food Standards Agency where he was Head of the Contaminants Division. He retired from the FSA in 2005 and worked as a consultant on food safety issues for several years. He is a Past President of IFST. He also plays golf and squash, supports his local rugby club and grows vegetables on his allotment.

Alex Kent

Honorary Secretary

After graduating from the Procter Department of Food & Leather Science with a gentleman's degree in Food Science, Alex embarked on a long and chequered career in the Food Industry. He has worked for blue-chips such as Marks & Spencer, Unilever, Homepride and Unigate, and has just retired from Fibrisol Service – a major ingredient supplier. He has also taught at secondary level, inspected hotels and restaurants for Egon Ronay, and enforced food law for a Trading Standards department. Alex is a past Hon. Treasurer [1998-2002], involved with the Educational Trust, and is currently secretary to the Finance Committee, as well as the Treasurer for UKFFoST. Otherwise, he enjoys supporting SME's through the Food Club and SALSA, believes he plays a mean hand of bridge, and has an incurable fondness for fermented grape juice.

Helen Munday

Standing Committee Chair - Communications Committee

Helen Munday has a B.Sc. in Agricultural Animal Science from Leeds University and a M. Meat Science from Nottingham University. On completing her studies Helen joined Pedigree Petfoods (Mars) where she worked for the next 20 years both in the UK and US. Helen's roles encompassed quality systems, product development, innovation management and nutrition research. In her final assignment with Mars she held the position of Head of Research at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition. On leaving Mars Helen took up the post of Director of Food Safety and Science at the UK's Food and Drink Federation (FDF). Helen's current position is Director Scientific and Regulatory Affairs for Coca-Cola North West Europe and Nordics. Helen leads a team to ensure the legal compliance of the diverse product portfolio and works with key stakeholders to drive opportunities for future business. Helen is a Fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology and a registered nutritionist. She considers that food is both her work and her leisure, and when not in London enjoys the delights of Aga cooking in rural Leicestershire and partaking of the culinary delights of the Melton Mowbray area!

Erica Sheward

Standing Committee Chair - Membership Committee

Erica is a Food Safety Specialist at the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) at University of Greenwich delivering MSc programmes in Food Safety and Quality Management. Erica is currently seconded part time from NRI to the ‘Better Regulation Delivery Office,’ part of BIS the UK government department for ‘Business Innovation and Skills’ where Erica is Policy Manager involved in a number food safety related projects including international work in Nepal, Ukraine, Belarus and the USA.

Erica Sheward was previously Technical Director of ‘Castle Kitchens Limited,’ a food manufacturer involved primarily in the development and manufacture of an extensive range of special dietary requirement meals for the retail, healthcare and aviation sectors.

Erica has written extensively on the subject of food safety in travel and tourism and her first book ‘Aviation Food Safety’, was published October 2005 by ‘Wiley/Blackwell.’ Her previous publications include ‘Your Passport to Food Safety,’ a food safety training manual for cabin crew and ‘In-flight Food Safety Passenger Health & You,’ a cabin crew food safety training programme.

Erica has acted as a technical advisor to IATA (The International Air Transport Association) ICAO (The International Civil Aviation Authority) and NBAA (The National Business Aviation Association).  Erica was responsible for re-writing the food section of the ‘Guide to Hygiene and Sanitation in Aviation’ for the World Health Organisation alongside other eminent WHO colleagues in the area of water and food safety.

Erica’s research interests include the application of food safety-based risk management techniques to other high risk sectors and the impact of food law enforcement practice on small food businesses. Erica is supporting BRDO’s research into the impact of Better Regulation on regulatory outcomes such as prosperity and protection.

Erica is a Fellow of IFST and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public health.

Carol Wallace

Standing Committee Chair - Professional Development Committee

Carol is the Principal Lecturer in Food Safety Management at the University of Central Lancashire.

Prior to joining UCLan in 2004, she worked in the food industry for nearly 20 years, including seven years in manufacturing at Express Foods Group (International) Ltd and two years in retail at J. Sainsbury plc as head of the Product Safety team. For the last 10 years she worked for the consultancy group Reading Scientific Services Ltd (RSSL), latterly heading up the training, assessment services and food safety & quality consultancy businesses.

Carol’s background is in microbiology and food safety. She is perhaps best known for her work in HACCP, offering practical help, training and advice to large and small food companies, both in the UK and overseas. Carol is co-author of the leading textbooks, HACCP: a practical approach and HACCP, as well as a number of other food safety publications.

Carol's research interests include the provision of practical and effective solutions for food safety management, in particular the evaluation of system effectiveness and the impact of training on effective HACCP development.

Professor Carol A. Phillips BSc PhD C.Biol FSB FIFST

Chair of the Education and Careers Committee

After graduating with a BSc and PhD in Microbiology from Cardiff University, Professor Phillips carried out post doctorial research at Sussex University. She worked for several years in a NHS pathology laboratory before becoming a lecturer in 1990. Since then she has developed a research profile and a research team studying survival mechanisms in food pathogens such as Campylobacter jejuni and also natural antimicrobials specifically plant essential oils and their use in food systems. Her research team consists of postgraduate students, postdoctoral researchers and other members of academic staff. 

Professor Phillips has published extensively in scientific journals and presented at conferences across the world as well as being Associate Editor for International Journal of Food Science and Technology and reviewing for several other journals.  She was made a Professor of Microbiology in 2004 and is now Deputy Dean in the School of Health at the University of Northampton with responsibility for Research and Enterprise. She is a Fellow of the Society of Biology and was the first female President of the Institute of Food Science and Technology (2009-11).

Julian Cooper

Professor Julian M Cooper - CChem, FRSC, CSci, FIFST

Standing Committee Chair - Scientific Committee

Professor Cooper is an internationally renowned carbohydrate expert. During his 35 year career in the sugar industry he developed extensive experience in process and product development including reformulation and research and development in the food sector.