New partnership to beef up NZ’s food safety capabilities

Food safety researcher Associate Professor Stephen On will bring  his considerable expertise to an exciting new partnership between the New Zealand Food Safety and Science Research Centre and Lincoln University.

The centre, funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, was established in 2016 following the Botulism scare and aims to co-ordinate research to protect public health and enhance the country’s reputation as a safe food producer.

Dr On, who heads the university’s Wine, Food and Molecular Biosciences department, has been appointed to the organisation’s Science Leadership Team, which he says will evaluate needs and priorities for New Zealand food safety.

“A key role of the NZFSSRC is to investigate food safety issues of interest to the industry. Projects range from future-focused, cross-sector risk assessments to evaluating new decontamination methods and everything in between.

“I look forward to working with my NZFSSRC colleagues in this new partnership, and indeed with other Lincoln University scientists, who have much to offer.”

Dr On’s research has encompassed diagnostics, molecular epidemiology, comparative genomics, virulence studies and emerging pathogens.

His current research includes using laser light scatter patterns to identify pathogens, identifying Arcobacter and genomics of foodborne Vibrio and Yersinia species.

He previously spent 10 years at ESR (Institute of Environmental Science and Research), latterly as Chief Scientist for Food and Water. He has also worked as a researcher in leading organisations in Denmark and the UK. His research has also been recognised with awards from the UK Society of Applied Microbiology and the NZ Microbiological Society.

Dr On says the partnership is an exciting development in New Zealand’s food safety journey and he describes the centre as an important consolidation of expertise.

Source:  Lincoln  University

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog