Safeguarding the Food Chain - Protecting Authenticity and Integrity

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Conference Programme

Speakers, Session Chairs and Panelists


Phil Hogan - European Commission

Phil HoganPhil gained his bachelor’s degree in Economics and Geography from University College, Cork in 1981.  After spending a few years managing his family farm, he became Chairman of Kilkenny County Council in 1985 and then again in 1998.

Between the years 1987-89, Phil was a member of Seanad Éireann and Dáil Éireann. In 1994, Phil became the Minister of State at the Department of Finance. From this, Phil went on to become Chairman of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Group, where he served for six years from 1995-2001. From 2002-2007, Phil was the Fine Gael Director of Organisation. Shortly after Phil became the National Director of Elections for the Fine Gael party (2010-11).

Phil served as the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government from 2011-14. During this time he was also Chairman of the European People’s Party of Environmental Ministers (2012-14) and was President of the Council of EU Environment Ministers (2013). Since 2014, Phil Hogan has been the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development.

 Mairead McGuinness - European Parliament

safeguarding_mariead_mcguinnessMairead McGuinness is the First Vice-President of the European Parliament and represents the Midlands-North-West constituency in Ireland. Mairead is a member of the Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee. An agricultural economist, her work focuses on the future shape of agriculture and rural development policies, global development policy, the environment, public health, and food safety and security. As First Vice-President, she oversees relations with national parliaments, in particular with the EU affairs committees of Member State parliaments. She has responsibility for the Parliament’s dialogue with religious and non-confessional organisations on EU policies and legislative proposals. Mairead was lead negotiator for the EPP Group, the largest political grouping in the Parliament, on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. She works on the sustainability of the food supply chain, including unfair trading practices.Mairead was involved in the recent revision of the Medical Devices Regulation.

She is co-chair of the Parliament’s MEP Heart Group, focused on tackling heart disease through information, awareness, diet and physical activity. Mairead chaired the Parliament’s investigation into the collapse of the Equitable Life assurance company which identified issues around weak financial regulation. She is Vice-Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Montenegro Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee. Prior to becoming an MEP she was a well-known journalist, broadcaster and commentator.

Pamela Byrne - Food Safety Authority of Ireland

Pamela ByrneDr Byrne holds a PhD in Environmental Toxicology from University College, Cork (UCC); an MSc in Aquatic Resource Management from Kings College, University of London; a BSc in Zoology from UCC and a Higher Diploma in Environmental Law from the University of Aberystwyth in Wales.

Prior to taking up the position of CEO at the FSAI in March 2015, Dr Byrne held the role of Director of Regulatory Policy and Intelligence with Abbott Nutrition. Having previously held senior positions in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, she has extensive experience of the food regulatory environment, as well as expertise in risk assessment and food safety management at both national and international levels. During her time at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Dr Byrne gained a deep knowledge of the food sector as an environmental toxicologist and risk assessor, and was instrumental in developing Ireland’s research and innovation policy programmes in relation to food and the bio-economy. Dr Byrne also worked in the Cabinet of the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation - Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn. Dr Byrne is the Chair of the Management Board of the Joint Programming Initiative A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life. She is also the Chair of the Strategic Advisory Board of the Institute of Food and Health at University College Dublin, Ireland.

Paul Brereton - Fera

Paul BreretonPaul Brereton is Head of Agri-food Research at Fera based in York, UK. A senior scientist working at science-policy interface, he has over 30 years’ experience of applied research in the area of food safety and quality. As well as leading numerous national activities, Paul has co-ordinated two of the world’s largest research projects in the area of food authenticity and traceability: the €20M TRACE project (tracing the origin of food) and currently FOODINTEGRITY a €12M EU sponsored research project that aims to address, at a European level, many of the gaps identified during the recent horsemeat incident. He has published over 70 peer reviewed papers on food safety and quality and edited the book “New analytical approaches for verifying the origin of food” (Elsevier). He and has close links with the food industry, UK Public sector, academia and the European Commission. In addition to his Fera role, he has also taken up a position at the Institute of Agri-Food Research and Innovation (IAFRI) a joint Institute between University of Newcastle and Fera that aims to deliver innovation in research across the agr-food chain.

Bérengère Dréno - EUROPOL

Bérengère DrénoBérengère Dréno comes from the French Customs and has been working at EUROPOL for six years. She is an expert in IPR infringements and criminal analysis. After studying public law in the school of Political Science in Bordeaux, she joined the Customs Service in 2007 and worked as an Intelligence Analyst in counterfeit goods in Paris and then as an investigator. At EUROPOL, she coordinates, among other things, the operation OPSON, a EUROPOL/ INTERPOL joint operation against counterfeit and substandard food and beverages. The EUROPOL expert in Intellectual Property is a law enforcement officer from one of the 28 EU Member States whose task is to support and coordinate the transnational cases on counterfeit goods and digital piracy. The expert also liaises with all the institutions at the international and the European level with regards to the enforcement actions against IPR and public health infringements.

Ray Dolan - safefood

Ray DolanRay Dolan is the Chief Executive Officer of safefood and he leads the senior management team.
Formerly Director of Corporate Operations with safefood, he is a qualified CIPFA accountant and holds a Masters in Public Administration. He is also the current Chair and Board Member of the Audit Committee for the Institute of Public Administration and a member of the risk committees of the FSAI and the Ulster Scots Agency. Ray has previously held positions with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, the Controller and Auditor General and the European Space Agency. He has a keen interest in the management of change and corporate governance. He has taken part in leadership challenge programmes and has also lectured in management accounting.

Chris Elliott - Queen’s University, Belfast

Chris ElliotChris Elliot is Professor of Food Safety and founder of the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University, Belfast. He serves as Pro-Vice Chancellor for the university and is responsible for the Medical and Life Sciences Faculty. He has published more than 350 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 toxin 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 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 and the Institute of Food Science and Technology. Chris has received numerous prizes and awards for his work. In 2017, he was awarded the Royal Society of Chemistry Theophilus Redwood Prize and the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Associations’ ‘Outstanding Contribution’ award. 

Pat Flanagan – Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

safeguarding_pat_flanaganPat Flanagan graduated as a veterinary officer from University College, Dublin in 1976. He worked in general veterinary practice in Co. Limerick until 1982. At that time, he joined the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) where he remains to this day. As a veterinary inspector, he worked at a poultry meat plant for a short while and then moved to the area of animal health working in local district veterinary offices in Offaly, Carlow and Laois. He was promoted to superintending veterinary inspector in 1992 and to senior superintending veterinary inspector in 2001. He has published a number of peer reviewed papers on topics connected with bovine TB. In 2008, he was head of the audit body within DAFM dealing with Regulation 882/2004 audits. In 2014, he became head of the new Investigations Division within DAFM. 

Eric Marin - SANTE G5 European Commission

Mr Eric Marin is Deputy Head of unit G5 - Alerts, Traceability and Committees - of the Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) of the European Commission.  He coordinates the EU Food Fraud Network.

He is a doctor of veterinary medicine from the Veterinary School of Lyon and a HEC Executive MBA graduate. His past experiences within the Commission are varied, from issues of better regulation and impact assessments, animal health, aid to developing countries (EuropeAid office-DG AIDCO), the fight against fraud (OLAF) to audit of the implementation of food safety legislation (Food and Veterinary Office – DG SANCO.)
Before joining the European Commission in 1998, Mr Marin had been working for the French Ministry of Agriculture since 1991. He held positions at the French Embassy in Madrid and as a national expert on food safety issues in dairy products in Brussels. He was also an expert for the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health).

Gavan Wafer - Food Standards Agency, UK

safeguarding_gavan_waferGavan Wafer joined HM Customs and Excise at Heathrow Airport in 1989 and spent 8 years enforcing border controls in Terminal 3. For the next 20 years he served in a variety of roles in the Customs service investigating some of the UK’s biggest tax, drug smuggling, alcohol diversion and cigarette smuggling cases. Gavan is an accredited Financial Investigator and has been involved in money laundering and financial investigation throughout his career. In 2015 he joined the National Food Crime Unit within the Food Standards Agency as the Head of Intelligence responsible for leading the UK’s response to food crime. Since joining he has been working on developing the capacity and capability of the Unit to combat the threat to UK consumers and businesses. 

Rob Philips - Welsh Food Fraud Co-ordination Unit

Rob graduated from University of Wales Institute Cardiff in Environmental Health in 1990. He then worked in Carmarthenshire County Council for 11 years before spending two years on secondment with the Food Standards Agency investigating illegal meat frauds. At the same time, Robert was asked to be a member of the Food Standard Agency (FSA) Waste Food Task Force. Following the completion of the secondment, Robert took a senior post in Pembrokeshire County Council before being appointed Food Fraud Co-ordinator for the newly formed Welsh Food Fraud Co-ordination Unit (WFFCU) in August of 2004. In 2006, Rob was asked to sit on the FSA’s Food Fraud Task Force which published a report in September 2007 identifying 16 recommendations designed to raise awareness of food fraud issues and to further protect consumers. He is currently a member of the FSA’s Food Fraud Advisory Unit.

Rob holds the accreditation with the National Crime Agency as a Financial Investigator, he is therefore able to provide a financial investigation capability to Local Authorities to support their investigation of food fraud and also conduct confiscation proceedings for the recovery of criminal assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 on their behalf.

The WFFCU provides welsh local authorities, FSA Wales and other stakeholders with an intelligence- led capability to support their efforts of in combatting food fraud. When frauds are identified, the Unit co-ordinates the enforcement response of relevant enforcement agencies. In addition, the Unit acts as a resource for support and advice in addition to running training events covering topics that include intelligence handling techniques, investigation management and source handling. Rob sits on the Government Agency Intelligence Network group for Wales.

In June 2014 Rob was appointed Training Coordinator for the EU Commission Better Training for Safer Food Program – New Techniques for Investigating Food Fraud Courses.

Pat O’Mahony - Food Safety Authority of Ireland

Pat O'MahonyDr Pat O'Mahony is Chief Specialist in Food Science and Technology with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI). He has a B.Sc. in microbiology, an M.Sc. in biotechnology and a Ph.D. in plant molecular biology. He is responsible for a number of regulatory areas including novel food, GM food, nanotechnology, irradiated food, food allergens and the technical aspects of food fraud detection. The latest analytical methods are monitored to determine what could be useful in identifying or quantifying irregularities with respect to the content or labelling of foodstuffs. He is currently involved with the development a molecular screening technique to identify and quantify individual plant species in foods and food supplements. He has had technical involvement over the years with incidents related to adulterated chicken, mislabelled fish and the detection of undeclared horsemeat in beef products in Ireland in 2013.

Jon Spencer - University of Manchester

Jon SpencerJon Spencer is Senior Lecturer in Criminal Justice in the Centre for Criminology and Criminal Justice, School of Law, University of Manchester. His main research interests are in cross border crime. Jon has a particular interest in how these processes are integrated into the discourse of criminal justice policy-making. He has undertaken European Union funded research on the organisation of the movement of people across borders. In 2014, Jon was awarded an ESRC/FSA grant to research the criminal activity of food adulteration. The aim of this research is to develop a predictive computational approach to modelling the food supply chains so that the points where food fraud can occur are identified. By identifying these points of vulnerability to adulteration within the supply chain will allow regulators and retailers to take appropriate action to avoid food fraud. Jon and his colleagues are currently researching the distribution and consumption of counterfeit alcohol. This work relies on the application of script and social network analysis. The research is funded by Alcohol Research UK and Jon and colleagues blog regularly on counterfeit alcohol issues on the European Food Crime Research Group blog

Patrick Wall - University College, Dublin

Patrick WallPatrick Wall is Professor of Public Health in University College, Dublin (UCD) and the Deputy Director of the UCD Institute for Food and Health. He is qualified in both veterinary and human medicine; he has an MSc in Infectious Diseases from the University of London, an MBA from the Michael Smurfit School of Business UCD and a Diploma in Corporate Governance from the UCD Centre of Corporate Governance. He is a Diplomat of the European College of Veterinary Public Health.
His research interests include food safety, lifestyle related disease, consumer insights, science communication and social media analytics. He teaches undergraduate medical and veterinary students and is one of the directors of the UCD Masters in Public Health and Masters in Food Safety programs. He is co-director on the MPH International program which is delivered in the UCD overseas branch campus in Penang, Malaysia. He is a firm believer in the “One Health” approach to tackling issues like antimicrobial resistance and sustainable food production.

Mitchell K. Weinberg – INSCATECH, IFAAO, FASTech


Mitchell Weinberg is the Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of INSCATECH. INSCATECH is the sole private sector provider of forensically based food fraud investigations. He is also the Co-Founder, Chairman, CEO and President of the International Food Authenticity Assurance Organization (IFAAO). IFAAO is a non-profit organization whose mission is to develop a harmonised approach for the establishment of food authenticity. Early in 2017, sensing a serious scientific and technological void in the areas of food fraud and authenticity, Mitchell created the Food Authenticity Science and Technology Corporation (FASTech). FASTech has quickly become the central global source of intelligence, scientific and technological advancements in the field of food authenticity. He is a graduate of Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Pre-Law and Sociology and the McGill University Faculty of Law in Montreal, Canada where he obtained his Common Law (LL.B) and Civil Law (B.C.L.) degrees in 1991. Prior to entering the food industry, Mitchell served as the Vice-President and General Counsel of a multinational semiconductor distribution company.

Peter Whelan - Food Safety Authority of Ireland

Peter WhelanPeter Whelan is Director of Audit and Investigations at the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. He qualified as an environment health officer (EHO) in 1982. He worked as an EHO, Senior EHO and Principal EHO before taking up the post of Contracts Manager and then Director of Service Contracts in the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI). Peter then took a five year secondment to the post of Executive Chairman of the then newly established Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority. As Director of Audit and Investigations in the FSAI, he is responsible for audits, food fraud investigations and the FSAI’s Quality Management System. Further studies Peter has undertaken include a MSc in Food Science, University College, Dublin, MSc in Management, Trinity College and a BA Hons degree in Psychotherapy.


 Paul Willgoss - Marks and Spencer

Paul Willgoss Paul has been with Marks and Spencer since 1995 completing a broad range of both technical and commercial appointments with experience of working with business, government and NGOs across the Food and Agricultural sectors. Paul was appointed as Head of Technology in January 2009, he is responsible for Food Safety, Quality, Integrity and Legality across all Territories within the supply chain and retail outlets. Paul is part of the Food Leadership Team and is also a member of the Executive How we do Business Committee, he was made a Director in September 2013. In 2015 Paul became Co-Chair of the Food Industry Intelligence Network (FIIN) and is a Fellow of Food Science and Technology.  In 2016 he was part of the Independent Steering Group reviewing the National Food Crime Unit.

John Hill - British Pepper and Spice Company Ltd

safeguarding_john_hillJohn has worked in the food industry for 40 years working across all categories of food manufacturing, from chilled to frozen to ambient.  He spent the majority of his career working for Mars Inc. latterly in a Quality and Food Safety European role.  John has worked in the herb and spice industry for the last 11 years as Technical Director of British Pepper and Spice Company Ltd.  British Pepper and Spice is a leading processor and packer of herbs and spices in the UK, servicing retail brands, as well as the industrial and food service sectors.  He has extensive experience of working with all of the major retailers and food manufacturers in the UK and Ireland. As a former Board member of the European Spice Association and a current active member of the UK Seasoning and Spice Association, John has broad experience of the issues and challenges which the industry faces.  John has travelled extensively to the source countries and is well known amongst many of the leading suppliers.

Ron McNaughton – Food Standards Scotland   

safeguarding_ron_mcnaughtonRon is currently the Head of the Scottish Food Crime and Incidents Unit (SFCIU) at Food Standards Scotland (FSS).  A former senior Police Officer in Scotland, he retired from the police in 2015 after 30 years’ service. During this period, he served in a number of operational policing roles. For the last five years of his police service, he was specifically involved in leading the investigation into serious organised crime as Force Authorising Officer and Head of Intelligence for Tayside Police.  In that role, he was responsible for all force covert activity. Latterly, Ron worked within the Police Service of Scotland's intelligence function and performed the role of Intelligence Commander for the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, Scotland.  Initially a consultant for FSS, Ron became the Head of the SFCIU in 2016 after being asked to build a food crime capability by the Chief Executive of FSS.

Dr Pete Lunn - Economic and Social Research Institute

safeguarding_peter_lunnDr Pete Lunn is a behavioural economist, author and former BBC journalist who works for the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). Originally trained as a neuroscientist, Pete’s primary research interest is economic decision-making. He conducts experimental studies investigating how people’s decisions are affected by the way information is framed and more generally, the environment that surrounds them. Pete is the author of “Regulatory Policy and Behavioural Economics” (OECD) and has acted as a consultant and advisor on behavioural science for multiple Government departments and State Agencies in Ireland, for several other OECD Governments, and for the European Commission.


Dr John Spink - Michigan State University

safeguarding_john_spinkDr John Spink is the Director of the Food Fraud Initiative within the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University (USA). His research on Anti-Counterfeit Strategy and his broad research expands from Food Fraud to product fraud related business risks (including Enterprise Risk Management ERM and COSO), and a range of outreach activities that cover policy and trade issues. He teaches MSU graduate courses of “Packaging for Food Safety,” “Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection (Food Fraud),” and” Quantifying Food Risk.” He is widely published in leading academic journals with important works such as “Defining the Public Health Threat of Food Fraud.” Outreach includes MSU’s biannual “Food Fraud MOOC” (Massive Open Online Course) that offers free training and certificates online.


Beate Kettlitz - FoodDrinkEurope

Beate Kettlitz, FoodDrinkEuropeBeate Kettlitz is the Director for Food Policy, Science and R&D at FoodDrinkEurope, the umbrella organisation representing the European food and drink industries. She has a background in food chemistry and is an expert on technical regulatory matters in the food chain and runs the secretariat for the European Technology Platform, FoodforLife.  She was also food policy adviser at the European Consumers’ Organisation (BEUC). Prior to that, she held positions in industry and in German local and regional authorities. Before moving to industry, she reached the position of Head of Department at the Regional Hygiene Institute of Potsdam.


Detective Superintendent George Kyne - An Garda Siochana

George Kyne, Garda SiochanaDetective Superintendent Kyne is a qualified Senior Investigating Officer with An Garda Siochana.  He has a wide range of experience in the investigation of all types of serious crime including murder, kidnapping, theft, intellectual property crime, and environmental crime. He was previously a Detective Inspector in charge of the Organised Crime Unit of of An Garda Siochana, where he led investigations into criminal organisations, both national and international involved in all aspects of organised crime. He has responsibility (amongst other matters) for the coordination of intellectual property crime matters at a national level, including matters related to food safety.


Daniel Kingdon - Amazon

Daniel Kingdon, AmazonDaniel is the European Compliance and Safety Lead at Amazon who was recruited to support ingestible categories.  He works in partnership with the Global Compliance teams in Seattle, and business teams in Europe to drive improvements in customer safety.  He has worked with food safety and quality throughout his career starting right at the bottom in restaurant management before studying Food Science and Microbiology in Cardiff in the 1990s.  This led to an industry-based Masters Microbiology study focused on processing quality and safety improvements for customers.  He stayed in the supplier environment for a time focusing on safety and traceability in global produce supply chains before jumping the fence from supplier to customer, taking positions in global multichannel brands gaining a deep knowledge in food safety and authenticity from overseeing private and third party standards development, audit and testing programs, product labeling and online data integrity, and a global view by working in multiple GEOs including time in Asia.


Ladislav Miko  - European Commission

safeguarding_miko_ladislavLadislav Miko has been Deputy Director-General for Food Safety of the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety of the European Commission since January, 2011. His portfolio covers issues of food safety throughout the whole food chain, including plant and animal health, pesticides, biotechnology, food hygiene, nutrition, and food sustainability. He was also Acting Director-General in the period November, 2014 to August, 2015.

Between 2005 and 2010, he was Director for Nature in the Directorate-General for Environment of the European Commission. Here, he was responsible for the Directorate-General's work on nature and biodiversity, agriculture, soils and forests. He was initiating, among others, the policies related to economical valuation of ecosystem assets, green infrastructure, invasive alien species, wilderness protection (Chair of Wild Europe initiative), and a special program to support biodiversity conservation and solve climate change impacts in European overseas territories. During the Czech Presidency to the EU Council in 2009, he was appointed Minister of Environment of the Czech interim Government.

Before he started his career in the European Commission, he was Deputy Minister in the Czech Ministry for Environment and prior to this, he worked for nine years as a professional soil biologist in the Slovak Academy of Sciences, specialising in soil zoology and ecology. He published over 50 scientific papers and his scientific work is ongoing. He also works for popularisation of ecology and soil biology and published broadly in popular press. He holds a doctorate in zoology and ecology and he is Associate Professor of Prague University of Life Sciences and Guest Professor at University of Antwerp, teaching environment and society relations and ecological restoration courses. He was member of Board of Charles University in Prague.



Session Chairs

Dr Gary A. Kearney - safefood

safeguarding_gary_kearneyDr Gary A. Kearney, BSc, MSc, MA, PhD, is Director of Food Science with safefood. Dr Kearney leads the food chemistry/toxicology, microbiology and food allergy disciplines within the organization, and has lead responsibility in managing the research office and its programme and other specialised laboratory services for safefood.

A graduate of University College Cork with an MSc and a PhD in Chemistry, Dr Kearney previously spent nine years in the field of national and EU regulatory food compliance with the Health Service Executive in Galway and Cork prior to joining safefood. His roles at safefood have involved a wide variety of science, stakeholder development, corporate and performance management responsibilities on an all-island basis. In addition to an MA in Health Care Management, Dr Kearney has undergone further educative training at both Harvard Business School and Henley.

He has a keen interest in strong corporate governance having served as a Board member and member of the Internal Audit Committee of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, and as Board Member and Chair of the Internal Audit Committee of Leargas - the educational, training and mobility organisation under the aegis of the Dept of Education and Skills. In 2016, he graduated with a University College Dublin-accredited professional qualification in corporate governance (1st) from the Institute of Public Administration.

A member of the National Hygiene Partnership Management Committee and Irish Codex Advisory Committee, Gary is also a member of the Advisory Board of the CIEH Institute of Food Safety, Integrity and Protection in the UK.


Paola Colombo - Directorate General for Health and Food Safety - European Commission

safeguarding_paulo_columbaPaola is Director of the European Commission Directorate for Health and Food Audits and Analysis of Directorate General for Health and Food Safety. She joined the Commission in 1995 working in DG AGRI and DG SANTE (SANCO at that time) on food and feed safety matters (including BSE, the dioxin crisis and animal by-products), dealing with legislative dossiers in the Commission, Council and European Parliament and trade negotiations. She then moved to the SG, where she was responsible for ensuring overall coherence and quality of Community policies in the area of health and consumer protection, research and development, life sciences and biotechnology, and for supporting the implementation of the Lisbon Strategy and the preparation of the post-2006 financial perspective. Since 2007, she has been the head of the Management and Resource Unit of the European Political Strategy Centre, a Commission service providing timely, informed, policy and political advice to the President, Vice-Presidents and to the Commission, on issues relevant to the President's agenda and the future of policies in the Union. Paola has a degree in Veterinary Medicine and she was an EU fellow at the University of North Carolina – Centre for European Studies/EU Centre for Excellence.

Michael Bell - Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association

safeguarding_michael_bellMichael  is the Executive Director of the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association. He has over thirty-three years’ experience in food. Michael 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, a Chartered (Food) Scientist, a Fellow of the Institute of Directors and a Chartered Director. He holds a Leaders in Industry programme Food and Drink Manufacturing sector award from the Queens University of Belfast.  Michael is Chairman of the Northern Ireland Agricultural Research and Development Council, a member of Safefood Expert Advisory Committee and 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.

Maria Jennings – Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland

safeguarding_maria_jenningsMaria obtained an Honours Degree in Environmental Health from the University of Ulster in 1990 and has worked for over twenty years in the Northern Ireland public sector, much of it in the area of food control. She worked in a number of District Councils enforcing food hygiene and standards legislation in a range of retail, catering and manufacturing premises.  She completed a Master’s Degree in Environmental Health in 1998.

Since joining the team at the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland in 2001, Maria has been responsible for developing legislation and policy in relation to food safety, food standards, imported food control, food fraud and nutrition and dietary health.  Her career within the Food Standards Agency has included leading on dietary health, managing a number of major food and feed safety incidents and leading on large corporate programmes.  Maria is currently a member of the Food Standards Agency’s Executive Management Team with responsibility for the Northern Ireland office, human resources and organisational development.

In 2014, Maria was elected as a Fellow (Chartered) of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.


Finbarr Garland -

safeguarding_finbarr_garlandFrom October 2012 to May 2017 Finbarr Garland has worked as the Trust & Safety Manager with, the largest classified advert web site covering the whole of Ireland. In July 2015 the Irish owned Distilled Media Group and Schibsted Media Group, the Oslo listed international media group and leading player within online marketplaces globally, announced the establishment of a combined business, Distilled SCH. Distilled SCH owns the three highly successful Irish online marketplaces, and In May 2017 he took on the additional responsibility of Trust & Safety Manager with and

 His primary role is giving advice on personal safety, the do's and don'ts when meeting a buyer or seller, where needed to users of Distilled SCH classified advert web sites. Finbarr's priorities are simple and that is to keep the bad users off the site and provide practical advice for users when using the site. Finbarr also liaises with Government Law Enforcement Agency's both in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland providing assistance with their enquiries and follow up with witness statements and attending Court where necessary.

Finbarr is a former head of the Stolen Motor Vehicle Investigation Unit, based at the National Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Harcourt Square. Finbarr spent 31 years with An Garda Siochana before retiring and taking up his current role with

Hugo Bonar - Health Products Regulatory Authority

safeguarding_hugo_bonarHugo is the Enforcement Manager of the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA). The HPRA actively cooperates with the Irish Police Service (An Garda Síochána) and the Irish Customs Service and other relevant regulatory authorities, in the investigation and enforcement of health product related offences. He is a member of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland’s Food Fraud Task Force. Hugo is also active regionally and internationally in combating pharmaceutical crime and standards raising. His involvement includes several anti-counterfeiting initiatives and groups (including Interpol’s Operation Pangea Organising Committee on the illicit online supply of health products; a member of the Permanent Forum on International Pharmaceutical Crime Management Committee and the former Chair of the EU Working Group of Enforcement Officers (WGEO).

 He is a member of the UNODC development of a guide on drafting legislation on fraudulent medical products and was an expert member of the Council of Europe’s ‘Medicrime’ Convention drafting group. Hugo is the Ireland delegate at World Health Organisation’s Member State Mechanism on substandard and falsified medical products. He is a Member of Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland. Prior to joining the HPRA, he served as an Army officer of the Irish Defence Forces. He qualified as a lawyer (Ireland and New York). He has an MSc in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Investigation, LL.B, and B.A. (Public Administration).


Raymond Ellard - Food Safety Authority of Ireland

Ray EllardRaymond Ellard is the Director of Risk management and Regulatory Affairs at the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).  He has worked in various aspects of food control form the local to the international level since he qualified as environmental health officer (EHO) in Ireland in 1975. For eight years, he was Chief Environmental Health Officer with the Department of Health and Children. In 1998, he moved to the then newly established FSAI as Chief Specialist in Environmental Health, before taking up his present post there as one of the Directors.

Within the FSAI, he is part of the Senior Management Team and has held many responsibilities including service level agreements with official agencies. Currently, he is responsible for the FSAI’s training group, veterinary public health group, food incident team, regulatory affairs team and the Food Safety Consultative Council. 

He has worked with the EU systems as a national expert representing Ireland at various working groups on food safety and food regulation. He has also contributed internationally as a consultant on food control for both the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization. He acted as a training provider and project leader on food safety and food control for many EU candidate countries. He represented the FSAI at the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Advisory Forum for a period and was chair of EFSA’s Working Group on Crisis Preparedness.

For five years, he was Honorary Secretary of the International Federation of Environmental Health.  He is currently chair of the group in Europe known as FLEP (Food law Enforcement Practitioners). He holds three Masters Degrees - one each in Food Science, Health Services Management and European Food Regulatory Affairs.


Liam Chambers - IBM

safegurding_liam_chambersLiam Chambers is a Strategy Manager at IBM Research in Dublin Ireland. IBM Research is one of the world’s largest and most influential corporate research organisations. With a history of sustained investment in basic research and core science, IBM Research collaborates across disciplines and partners with clients to address some of the world’s biggest challenges. IBM works with clients and partners to design and develop Blockchain solutions from fully transparent food systems to international trade and finance, so businesses can extract valuable insights to improve virtually every aspect of their operations and enable innovative new business models.




Last reviewed: 27/6/2018