Helen has a wealth of experience in the food and drink sector. Most recently Helen was the Food and Drink Federation’s Chief Scientific Officer, where she was accountable for the diverse food safety and science policy briefs, but also had responsibility for sustainability and contributed to health and wellbeing policy.
She started her career with Mars Petcare where she spent 20 years in various roles including nutrition research, product development and innovation processes. A significant period of time was spent overseas, gaining invaluable international experience. Helen served as Head of Research at the Mars Petcare Global Research Centre for over five years.
Helen has also held the position of Director of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs for Coca-Cola and worked as Lead Technologist in AgriFood at InnovateUK.
Helen is a Fellow of the Institute of Food Science & Technology, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a Registered Nutritionist. With her qualifications in Agricultural Science and Meat Science, together with her vast business experience, Helen has broad and deep knowledge across the entire AgriFood chain.
Helen is currently running a small farming and food business which she hopes will help citizens understand the food supply chain better from farm to fork, including the vital processing step.
Sterling has 35 years of experience working in the field of food safety and global supply chain governance. He started his career in government before a successful track history in retail. Sterling’s experience as a regulator, retailer, brand owner and food manufacturer has given him a unique perspective of the challenges of the global food supply network.
He has previously served as Vice President of the Institute and, until recently, chaired its Food Safety Special Interest Group. He was awarded the Honorary Fellowship of the Institute in 2020 for his contribution to the food sector. He is also a member of the CIEH food expert panel and sits on the IFST, CIEH and FSA COVID advisory groups.
Alec Kyriakides is an Independent Food Safety Consultant. Prior to this, he was Head of Product Quality, Safety & Supplier Performance at Sainsbury’s where he worked for 28 years. Prior to Sainsbury’s, he worked in the manufacturing industry including the dairy and brewing sectors. His responsibilities include the management of specialist teams collectively responsible for the safety and quality management framework for Sainsbury’s.
He was a member of a number of industry and government committees and sat on the government Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) for 10 years. Alec is the author of books on the microbiological safety of foods including Campylobacter, Salmonella, E. coli and Clostridium botulinum.
Michael has over thirty-four years of experience in the food industry and has been the Executive Director of the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA) for over 22 years. He previously worked in Northern Ireland and Malta for twelve years working closely with major retailers and was a member of the Board of Ormeau Bakery.
Michael has an Honours Degree in Food Science and is a Fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology (FIFST) and a Chartered (Food) Scientist (CSci). He is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors (FIoD) and is a Chartered Director (C Dir) He also has a Leaders in Industry Programme Food and Drinks Manufacturing sector award from Queen’s University, Belfast. Michael is Chairman of the Northern Ireland Agricultural Research and Development Council (Agrisearch) and a member of the Safefood Expert Advisory Committee.
In addition, Michael is a member of the Northern Ireland Food and Feed Advisory panel for the Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland and a board member of Agri-Quest - the Food Innovation Competence Centre.
Wayne is Associate Professor in Food Insights and Sustainability, at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing, University of Lincoln. Wayne has delivered sustainability research since 1998, starting out as an agronomist for Levington Agriculture he has worked at CSIRO Australia, the EC Joint Research Centre and the OECD Paris. He leads the Food Insights and Sustainability Research agenda at NCFM, working with food and beverage manufacturers so that we can align practice and business with climate-neutral actions and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. He frequently publishes thought-leading articles, supports Early Career Researchers and delivers transformative food system research.
Chris is a professional Food Technologist with 40 years of experience in retail and manufacturing, having managed quality, food safety and sustainability in both own label and branded supply chains. Much of this time was spent working at the interface between agriculture and the primary processors. Chris was previously a NED at Quality Meat Scotland, where he chaired the R&D committee and at the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI). A Fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology and a Registered Food Safety Principal, Chris is currently working as a consultant In the food industry, using experience and expertise to help others meet their objectives.
Anita has worked in the food industry for over 30 years, spending the first 13 years in manufacturing before moving into the out-of-the-home retail sector. Her current role involves looking after the technical aspects of drinks, supporting both technical and safety teams around the globe and ensuring that they maintain the standards and constantly improve. Anita was recently involved in implementing a new recipe management system into the business. She leads allergen management within their business. She is also a founding member of the Industry Exchange Group, which seeks to share best practices across the out-of-the-home sector for topics such as allergens and new legislation.
Sam Jennings FIFST is a Director of Berry Ottaway & Associates Ltd, a consultancy providing scientific, technical and UK/EU regulatory support to the food industry. She has almost 19 years of experience in advising industry and governments internationally, specialising in food supplements and functional foods.
Alastair is currently Chief Executive Officer of SSERC, an organisation that offers a broad portfolio of services, principally in support of the STEM areas of the curriculum, specifically; Provision of Career Long Professional Learning for early years, primary and secondary teachers and school and college technicians, The Advisory Service and Lead Coordination role for STEM Ambassadors in Scotland and wider STEM engagement activities. As well as being a FIFST, Alastair is an active STEM Ambassador and a previous member of the IFST Education and Careers Committee. In his spare time, Alastair is a gym enthusiast and a season ticket holder and an avid supporter of Rangers FC.
Maureen Edmondson, OBE, BSc, PhD, FIFST, CSi, FIAFoSt, FECSS. Maureen was educated in Food Science at Queen’s University of Belfast and worked in Universities in NI and Melbourne Australia before joining the Mars company where she worked for 20 years. She was Director of International Scientific Affairs at Mars Inc until 2000. She served six years as the Chair of the Northern Ireland Food Advisory Committee and as a Northern Ireland Member of the Food Standards Agency Board. Maureen is Chair of the Patient and Client Council, the Ofcom Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland, the Board of Governors of Edgehill Theological College and is a visiting Professor at the University of Ulster School of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences. She is a Past President of IFST.
In her role as the Independent Assessor, she acts as an observer, acting on behalf of the members to ensure that the Board of Trustees and the Executive operate according to the Institute’s charitable principles. Maureen is also a member of the Volunteers' Advisory Group.
Emma studied Animal Physiology and Nutrition at Leeds University followed by a Master’s Degree in Food Science. After working in Clinical Biochemistry research at the University of Oxford, Emma then moved into the food industry working initially as a Process Technologist, then in a variety of manufacturing Technical Management roles for 14 years. She has experience in flour milling, bakery, snacks and a variety of chilled convenience food production operations. This includes extensive experience in both branded manufacture and supplying into the retail own-label sector. Joining the University of Nottingham in 2009 in a predominately teaching role (and completing her doctorate) she conducted research with the UK industry to establish a competency framework for technical graduates entering the food industry. ‘Competencies for Food Graduate Careers’ is now available on the IFST website, now used by a number of universities as a career development tool. It is currently being refreshed in collaboration with other universities and industries. She has a passion for ensuring her graduates are ‘oven ready'. Emma specialises in translating Food Science principles into realistic modern manufacturing and retail applications for students. Additionally, she is currently the Academic Director for Degree Apprenticeships across the University. She is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Member of the Institute of Food Science and Technology.