Food Regulatory Group

Led by a steering committee with considerable food law experience, the Food Regulatory Group (formerly known as Food Law Group) focuses on relevant topics including global food standards, regulation, official controls, enforcement, food labelling, health and nutrition claims, novel foods etc. It provides members interested in food legislation with an opportunity to engage and share knowledge with others in the Group.

The Group's activities include hosting thought provoking discussion workshops (typically two per year). These are usually half-day interactive sessions featuring experts (including those from industry and government) presenting on the latest hot topics. The panel Q&A and general discussion sessions, encourage the sharing of relevant knowledge and experience across the sector.

Meet the Food Regulatory Group Committee

Chair: Sam Jennings

Vice-chair: Melanie Bulger 

Communications: Juliana Ferro Coats

Events: Eugenia Choi

Other Members: Simon Benadiba, Ruth Birt, Alison Friel, Andrew Guttridge, Dr Hazel Gowland, Madeleine Jones, Shaun Kokott, Bruce Lambourne, Maria Loftus, Luke Murphy, Fiona Palmer, Eric Partington, Dr Mark Tallon, Dilara Valejeva and Rebecca Wikman

Simon Benadiba is a specialist food lawyer, with over 5 years’ experience gained in EU institutions and bodies (European Commission and European Food Safety Authority), regulatory consultancy, and the food industry. He works as a Regulatory Affairs Manager, at innocent drinks. An alumnus of the College of Europe, Simon graduated with an LLB from the University of Paris 1, Pantheon-Sorbonne, and an LLM in European Union Law from Sciences Po Strasbourg.

Ruth Birt FIFST, has over 30 years’ experience in the food industry and holds a Food Science degree and a master’s in food law. Ruth spent 15 years in a blue-chip specialist foods company before setting up her consultancy, Regulatory Solutions Ltd. Her company offers regulatory advice in the areas of infant foods, foods for special medical purposes, and other dietetic foods. Ruth is the Chair of the IFST Scottish Branch.

Melanie Bulger MIFST, After qualifying with an MSc in Food Science and Nutrition,  Melanie has worked for: a2 Milk Company,  Mead Johnson Nutrition and Clasado Biosciences, in nutrition and regulatory.  Melanie now works as a Senior Regulatory Manager at Nature’s Bounty.  

Eugenia Choi MIFST, graduated as a nutrition and food scientist and has a background in food law. She has spent over 10 years working in various regulatory affairs positions across the food and drink as well as nutritional healthcare industries covering the UK, EU, and other international markets.

Juliana Ferro Coats is a US-qualified lawyer and is fluent in French and Spanish. Juliana has worked as an intern and volunteer for the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic. At Harvard, she co-authored a publicised report on the laws governing food expiration dates, The Dating Game: How Confusing Food Date Labels Lead to Food Waste in America.

Alison Friel MIFST, joined a global certification body in 2019 to develop and lead the Technical Advisory team. With over 20 years’ experience in the food industry, she has held a number of technical roles across the manufacturing, food service, and retail sectors.

Dr Hazel Gowland FIFST, is a leading expert advocate, researcher and trainer in food allergy and member of the IFST Scientific Committee. In addition to consultancy and training through Allergy Action, she investigates severe and fatal allergic reactions and undertakes research into regulatory and forensic aspects of consumer protection for those at risk.

Andrew Guttridge MIFST, holds a BSc in Food Technology. He has experience in technical and quality roles in a range of manufacturing sectors, including flavourings, ambient, and dairy. He is currently working in a regulatory role for a large snacks company.

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’ experience in advising industry and governments internationally, specialising in food supplements and functional foods.

Madeleine Jones leads Associated British Foods Food Law Programme covering all aspects of current and emerging EU and domestic food law.  She is Vice-Chair of the Food and Drink Federations’ Food Law and Labelling Committee and a member of the Food Safety and Scientific Steering Group. Madeleine has worked in technical and regulatory roles in the food industry since 1980.

Shaun Kokott FIFST, has 17 years’ experience in the chilled, frozen, and ambient sectors in the food industry spanning retail, food service, certification bodies, and manufacturing. He currently manages Cargill Europe’s supply base on technical and compliance matters. He holds an MSc in Food Science and Technology.

Bruce Lambourne FIFST, has 27 years’ experience working internationally in the food industry and holds two Science degrees (Food Technology and Quality Management) and an MBA. He is also a Chartered Manager with Chartered Management Institute. He has worked with Defra and the FSA and has served as a committee member on a number of industry trade bodies. His consultancy company, Food Technology & Integrity Consulting, offers specialist technical support to food businesses.

Maria Loftus holds a Food Science degree and a Masters in Nutrition. Maria has worked in various technical roles within the food industry, including the warehouse and distribution sector as well as a number of well-known high street hospitality brands for the UK and international markets such as Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group and TGI Fridays UK. She is currently the Brand Protection Manager, Technical, for Costa Coffee leading the Food Safety Governance Strategy.

Luke Murphy MIFST, heads the commercial side of the scientific and regulatory affairs at Leatherhead Food Research, having previously worked as a manager and advisor in the team for 10 years. He helps companies solve strategic and compliance-related food law issues, and manages Leatherhead client accounts in the UK, Ireland, Benelux, Scandinavia, Switzerland, and the USA. Before this, he worked in R&D and technical roles for Unilever, Mars Petcare, Dupont, and Leathams Ltd.  

Dr Fiona Palmer MIFST, graduated in Food Science and has a Doctorate in Analytical Chemistry. She has nearly 30 years’ experience in the food industry, working in technical roles in the fruit juice and soft drinks industries.

Eric Partington is a metallurgist who, as a European Consultant to the Nickel Institute, specialises in the applications of stainless steels in the food and beverage industry. He has presented and published extensively on the selection of food contact materials and on EU food safety legislation. He is Chairman of the Regional Section of the European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group which serves the UK & Ireland. 

Dr Mark Tallon FIFST, is an expert in EU food law and past chair of the IFST Food Regulatory Group (formerly known as ‘Food Law Group’). With over 20 years’ experience, his role as Managing Director at Legal Foods Ltd has resulted in the review and assessment of over 1,000 products covering multiple EU markets. He holds master’s Degrees in European Law and Food Law and a Doctorate in Nutritional Biochemistry.

Dilara Valejeva graduated with a BSc in Nutrition and since then has been working in food regulatory roles at two international organisations. Her roles have involved ensuring EU compliance of product labelling, new ingredients, and product recipes.   

Rebecca Wikman MIFST, is a civil engineer who added BSc Food Science and Human Nutrition to her portfolio. Rebecca works in the nutraceuticals industry with experience in additives, sweeteners, starches, juice to juice drinks, freeze-dried berries, flavours, proteins, probiotics, prebiotics, pulses, herbals and herbal extracts, and oilseeds from various places within the food industry. She has over 17 years’ of experience gained in various technical roles.


Students and competitions

The Food Regulatory Group contributed questions to the first ever IFST University Food Challenge competition that took place on 27 February 2019.

A number of the Committee members participate as mentors at IFST Student Launchpads.

IFST Impact Award

We value the important contribution that volunteers bring to the work and life of the Institute. Without the contribution of the volunteers who serve on committees, branches and special interest groups, we would find it difficult to achieve the strategic priorities set out by the Board of Trustees. The Impact Award is an opportunity for volunteers to showcase an innovative activity which has been undertaken which meets the following criteria.

  1. Is new and has been undertaken in the last 12 months which delivers measurable impact to any/any/all IFSTs strategic priorities, or
  2. Is an existing activity which has undergone an adaptation or change in order to deliver an enhanced impact linked to any/all of IFSTs strategic priorities, and which 
  3. Is scalable and sustainable. 

Previous winners:

2020 IFST Northern Ireland Branch and Eastern Branch 

2019 IFST Student Group

2018 IFST Student Group

2017 IFST Sensory Science Group

Find out more about the previous winners, entry criteria and submissions here.

Get in touch

Our Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are each run by a small committee of volunteer members, who meet both face-to-face and virtually. Members of a group are actively involved in organising and attending meetings in relation to setting up activities, events etc., as part of a committee. The groups are supported by the IFST central team, including the Scientific Affairs Manager, and provide excellent networking opportunities and support to group members.

If you would like to get involved as a member of our Food Regulatory Group committee, please contact us.