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2020 Convention - Day 1: Food Saftey for the Revolution

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  • 2020 Convention - Day 1


Phil Morle

Partner at Main Sequence Ventures

Topic: Are we ready for the revolution?


Phil is a Partner at Main Sequence Ventures, CSIRO’s venture capital fund.  He is well known as the CEO of Australia's first tech startup incubator, Pollenizer through which he co-created many of Asia Pacific's startup programs. He is a director of plant based meat company v2food, as well as Nourish Ingredients and Clara Foods who create animal proteins and lipids respectively, but without the animals.

Presentation Overview

In 1943, at a conference in Hotsprings, Virginia, the United Nations gathered to come up with a plan for feeding the world. It began “There has never been enough food for the health of all people. This is justified neither by ignorance nor by the harshness of nature. Production of food must be greatly expanded.” 

We are there again and incremental improvements of the system designed 77 years ago is not going to squeeze out twice as much food from this fragile planet while increasing the nutritional performance of what we eat. What’s our plan?

Frank Yiannas 

Deputy Commisioner for Food Policy and Response, Food and Drug Administration, USA

Topic: Food safety for the future


Frank Yiannas is the Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  He is the principal advisor to the FDA Commissioner on food safety policies, including implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.  His leadership role covers a broad spectrum, such as outbreak response, traceback investigations, product recall activities, and supply chain innovation.  Mr. Yiannas came to the FDA from leadership roles with Walmart and the Walt Disney Company. He has long been recognized for his role in elevating food safety standards and building food safety management systems based on science and risk. 

Presentation Overview

Presentation overview coming soon  

Joerg Lickfett

Head of Sales, Eurofins Global Control GmbH, Germany

Topic: Food Fraud


After an agricultural education, Joerg studied agricultural sciences with a focus on business administration, followed by a 2nd state examination at the Lower Saxony Chamber of Agriculture. Then postgraduate studies in industrial engineering with a focus on development economics. Various positions in the international animal feed industry. Since 2000, he has been involved in a total of 8 company foundations and has entered the analysis business, where he is continuously involved in questions and projects in the field of food fraud. Since 2012 Joerg has been the Sales Mat Eurofins Dr. Specht. Since 2014 he has been at Eurofins Food Testing Germany as strategic account manager responsible for international projects outside Europe with focus on tea, spices and edible oils. Since January 2020 Joerg has taken over the sales management of Eurofins Global Control, a Eurofins unit offering inspections, sampling, audits and analysis to 100 countries. He also manages several international projects of major clients of the Eurofins Group. Lecturing, consulting and sales experience in more than 45 countries with a focus on USA, Middle East, North Africa and Asia.

Presentation Overview

Food fraud causes worldwide damage of around 40 billion euros annually. The food manufacturer, who is fraudulently supplied with inferior raw materials, not only bears the immediate material risk: in ignorance, he also cheats the consumer who does not receive the expected quality. In addition to the economic loss, this also leads to considerable damage to the image of the manufacturing company. All this shows that it is important for companies in the food industry to know their entire supply chain. In a global and complex supply chain, it is of the utmost importance that a thorough mapping of the supply chain takes place to ensure that risks are managed. The risks are explained using examples.

Professor Tom Ross

Professor in Food Microbiology and Director of the ARC Training Centre for Innovative Horticultural Products, University of Tasmania

Topic: Food Safety in a global pandemic


Tom is a food microbiologist specialising in mathematical modelling of the microbial ecology of foods, which is important science for innovation in food safety management and food preservation.

Tom has written >150 scientific papers and book chapters on food microbiology and has served on numerous expert committees concerned with science-based food safety management for Australian government and industry organisations and international organisations including the United Nations’ FAO and WHO, and particularly JEMRA, and the USFDA.

He serves on the editorial board of several international microbiology journals. He was appointed to the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods in 2008. In 2017 he was appointed to the International Committee for Food Microbiology and Hygiene of the IUMS.

Tom is energetic in translating the results of science into practical outcomes for people and society.  In addition to internationally recognised published academic outputs in microbial ecology and physiology, Tom and his team develop mathematical models and science-based decision-support software tools that are in the public domain and are now widely used by the food industry and by governments in Australia and internationally for food safety risk management.

Presentation Overview 

In a very short period of time the ‘new' Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has revolutionised our world.

SARS-CoV-2 is not a food-borne illness, but it has affected our food supply – for example, the panic buying of ‘staple’ foods when the pandemic was ‘announced’, and the influence on international food supply chains.  But, what about its influence on food safety?

This presentation will consider whether a global pandemic could affect food safety including whether packaged foods can act as fomites or, conversely, whether improved awareness of hand-hygiene and sneezing/coughing in public spaces and food businesses could actually improve food safety in the community.

Joanna Gilbert

Managing Director, Gilbert International Group, New Zealand

Topic: Food Safety Culture


Joanna is the Managing Director of Gilbert International Group, a boutique freelance consultancy focussing on Food Safety Culture, Reputation Strategy, Strategic Transformation and Change

Recognised for her capabilities in global commercial, consulting & public sector organisations, Joanna has held leadership roles on strategic initiatives across various sectors. In addition, she has worked on cross-agency activities in developing countries including a ‘First Thousand Days’ initiative in Africa and International Development programmes in Asia, Africa & South America.

Considered a world authority on food safety culture, Joanna led Fonterra's Food Safety & Quality strategic transformation from 2013-2018, with her methodologies & concepts held in the highest regard. She was a member of the Global Food Safety Initiative's (GFSI) Technical Working Group on Food Safety Culture, with GFSI publishing their first guidance document on this topic in 2018.

Joanna enjoys coming up with creative ways to solve problems & is passionate about leveraging insights & evidence-based approaches. Her regular speaking engagements are well received & she is frequently called on to collaborate with industry leaders worldwide. She is known for her passion on the topic of food safety culture and her strengths in delivering innovative solutions that offer win-win-win opportunities for all.

Presentation overview 

Presentation overview coming soon 

Dan Purtell

Group Innovation Director, bsi

Topic: To be confirmed 


Dan Purtell is the Group Director of Innovation at the British Standards Institution. He is responsible for the development of the organization’s global Innovation strategy and deployment of disruptive technologies and services across all business units.

He formerly served as Senior Vice President of BSI’s Governance, Risk and Compliance group. He was CEO and founder of Quantitative Risk Solutions, a supply chain predictive modelling and intelligence-based consultancy firm which was acquired by BSI in 2009. Prior to founding his company, he was the Global Supply Chain Security Manager at Intel Corporation.

Dan served six years as a Supply Chain Security and Terrorism expert for DHS, CBP and the State Department. He was assigned as a Security Advisor for the U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace and consulted on secured trade and export security controls for cargo transiting between the West Bank and Israel. He co-led the recent development of the US Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) Minimum Security Criteria requirements.

He holds a patent for the development of a supply chain risk and compliance algorithm which analyzes terrorism and supply chain disruption exposures for international suppliers. Mr. Purtell received a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and a Masters in Business Administration from Arizona State University.

Presentation Overview 

Presentation overview coming soon. 

Deon Mahoney 

Head of Food Safety at PMA Australia-New Zealand

Topic: Food safety - what the past can tell us about the future


Deon Mahoney possesses wide ranging, long-term experience across food science and technology. He has post graduate qualifications from the University of Sydney, and over his career he has performed in various roles: including the development of food safety policy, microbiological risk assessment, risk communication, development and enforcement of food legislation, establishing food safety programs, and training and education

As Head of Food Safety at PMA A-NZ, Deon provides high level technical guidance and support to the fresh produce industry with the goal of ensuring the safety and suitability of products. Deon also undertakes consultancy work for the food industry through DeonMahoneyConsulting.

Deon has previously worked for the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, Food Standards Australia New Zealand, and Dairy Food Safety Victoria. He has worked in over 25 countries and provided forward-looking scientific advice addressing factors that impact the safety of food products; developed and published a wide range of technical content and guidance materials; and been actively involved in Listeria monocytogenes standard setting, incident investigation, and response.

Deon is a fellow of Australia Institute of Food Science and Technology.

Presentation Overview

While Australia can claim to have an all-embracing system for ensuring food safety, our food supply is far from faultless.

No system is impervious to failures, as there will always be pathogens or contaminants in our food supply. In fact, over time we regularly observe the sequence of crisis, anguish and headlines, then reform following major incidents of food borne illness. By failing to address fundamental flaws in the system for managing food safety, we are bound to see this sequence repeat itself.

What is needed is an extensive review of the system of food regulation and improvements in organisational culture across the food supply chain. The food science revolution must pursue innovative approaches to address regulatory/legal, economic, and social drivers that impact achievement of food safety goals.

Dr Bradley Clarke

Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science and Analytical Chemistry, University of Melbourne

Topic:  Microplastics as Vector for Pollutants in Seafood


Dr Bradley Clarke is currently a Senior Lecturer at the University of Melbourne (Australia). Brad’s research focusses on assessing the risk to public health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and this includes per/poly fluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and microplastics. Bradis the lead researcher of the Australian Laboratory for Emerging Contaminants (ALEC) which is an industry aligned collaboration that applies cutting edge analytical techniques to solve problems of chemical contamination. 

Presentation Overview  

Contamination of the natural environment with plastic debris is an increasingly high-priority concern among regulators, scientists and citizens. Aside from the negative impacts on natural aesthetics, plastic debris can cause ecological harm, from entanglement to starvation when ingested by animals. Plastic adsorbs and concentrates pollutants from the surrounding environment, especially organic chemicals that are insoluble and hence unavailable to aquatic organisms via the water pathway. The role plastic debris in the environment plays in the movement of chemical pollution and contamination of food chains is largely unknown. However, an increasing body of evidence supports the hypothesis that plastics can facilitate the bioaccumulation of pollution in a variety of exposed organisms. Here we show that fish accumulated the persistent organic pollutants (POPs) polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in their tissues when they were fed small microplastic particles isolated from a commercial facial cleanser contaminated with PBDEs. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that the bioaccumulation of PBDEs in fish tissue was inversely related to the hydrophobic nature of the chemicals with moderately lipophilic chemicals (log KOW 5-6) more bioavailable than highly lipophilic ones. Ubiquitous environmental contamination with microplastics (<5 mm) and nanoplastic particles (< 333 um) requires more scientific attention to determine the potential risks to public health due to the contamination of seafood intended for human consumption. 

Catherine Seah

Lecturer in the School of Chemical and Life Sciences, Nanyang Polytechnic

Topic: The use of rapid, alternative testing method for evaluating total aerobic count of Asian Foods.


Catherine is the Technical Manager for the ISO17025 accredited Food Safety Centre in Nanyang Polytechnic (Singapore) with several on-going industrial food safety related projects and R&D work. She is currently an active member of the Singapore’s Technical Committee on Food Safety and is also an approved Technical Assessor for Singapore Accreditation Council. With a wealth of experiences ranging from back-end laboratory work to front-end audits, she is actively engaged in food safety related training and consultancy.  

Presentation Overview 

Aerobic plate count is one of the most common tests performed to indicate the microbiological quality of food and conventional method often takes 2 days to complete. Hence, new rapid methods such as TEMPO® AC were developed as an alternative method to shorten time to results.Though past validations have shown that the TEMPO® AC is comparable to conventional method, little has been done using Asian Foods. 

The aim of this study is to evaluate TEMPO® AC against conventional FDA-BAM Aerobic Plate Count method using Asian Foods as regional variations in microbiota and food matrix may impact the performance of the alternative method. A total of 22 Asian food samples were analysed and no statistical difference (P=0.77) was found using the Student’s t-test. The coefficient of determination of (R2) were >0.997 and the differences between samples tested using TEMPO and conventional method were all within ±0.5 log CFU/g. The mean differences calculated showed that TEMPO® AC was 0.03 log CFU/g higher than the FDA-BAM method and the Bland–Altman limit of agreement was–0.264 to 0.206 log CFU/g. Colour interference was observed for dark coloured sample such as Kopi-C (coffee with evaporated milk) and further dilution of sample had shown to overcome this challenge. 

In conclusion, though TEMPO® AC is shown to be comparable to the conventional method, it is important to validate each food matrix for interference prior to use. 

Professor Enzo Palombo

Professor at Swinburne University

Topic: Examination of the behaviour of bacterial pathogens in raw milk 


I received PhD from La Trobe University studying the genetics of bacterial conjugation and undertook post-doctoral training at the Royal Children's Hospital investigating the genetic epidemiology of gastroenteritis viruses, particularly rotavirus and astrovirus. My research interests include food microbiology, identification of bio-active compounds from medicinal plants, fungi and bio-waste, environmental microbiology, nanotechnology and virology. I also have relevant expertise in examining microbial communities in foods, natural environments and hosts using various ‘omics’ platforms (genomics and metabolomics). I am involved in teaching in the areas of microbiology, biotechnology, biochemistry and molecular biology. I represent Swinburne University on the Australian Council of Environmental Directors and Deans (ACEDD), Water RA and the Victorian Food innovation Network. I have also served in various roles in the Australian Society for Microbiology and am currently a member of the ASM Standing Committee for Professional Development. 

Presentation Overview 

Consumption of raw cow’s milk is increasing in popularity in developed countries despite the associated foodborne disease risks. We examined the behaviour of bacteria in raw cow’s milk with attention to pathogens relevant to the dairy industry. Based on a survey of raw milk consumers, we simulated conditions in laboratory tests that focussed on transport, storage, and freezing and thawing. The results of this study highlight that consumer transport and storage practices have significant effects on the growth of pathogens. Consumer handling practices should be considered when developing public health strategies aimed at reducing the risks of raw milk consumption. 

Dean Clark

Food Biological Laboratory Manager, NMI

Topic: Foodborne Virus detection


Dean Clarke is a Microbiologist and Biochemist with duel interests in Food Microbiology and Food Allergens with over 30 years’ experience in the industry. He is the senior microbiologist and manager of the Australian National Measurement Institutes’ Microbiology and Allergen Laboratories in Port Melbourne. Dean is an authorised Public Analyst under the Victorian Food Act and Health Act and a NATA auditor for Food Allergens and Food/Water Microbiology. Through his role at the NMIA, Dean coordinates the micro-organism storage collection as an International Depository Authority (IDA) for receiving and storing deposits under the Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purposes of Patent Procedure.

Dean’s International Metrology responsibilities include the CCQM Steering Committee on Role for Reliable Traceable Microbiological Measurements to Ensure Food Quality and Safety. He is and has held the position of co-chair of the CCQM Microbial Measurements - Quantity Working Group for establish metrological principles in assigning microbial quantity.

Dean has a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Biochemistry from LaTrobe University and is a PhD Candidate with Victoria University researching confirmation techniques for allergen proteins. He is a founding member and convener of the Australian Allergen Testing – Special Interest Group (AT-SIG).

Presentation Overview 

Foodborne illnesses are a significant public health burden worldwide with millions of individuals effected each year. Of the many known pathogens which cause foodborne illness, foodborne viruses (FBV) represent a large proportion of the total cases worldwide and they also present a challenge for detection in the laboratory.

The viruses most commonly associated with typical foodborne illnesses include the enteric viruses; rotavirus and norovirus however there are other viruses of significant interest. These viruses include hepatic viruses such as Hepatitis A and Hepatitis E which are less common, however present a more severe risk to consumers. These FBV often originate within the digestive tract of animals (including humans) and are then spread through faeces and body fluids, contaminating food stuff via poor hygienic practices in the production of food or cross contamination.

Foods commonly linked with outbreaks of foodborne viruses include:

- shellfish (harvested near human sewage outlets),

- fruit and vegetables grown with animal waste based fertilisers.

- undercooked meats

The detection of viruses in food products presents many challenges for routine testing laboratories. Unlike bacteria, viruses are incapable of growing and multiplying outside of a host and cell culture techniques are too long for fresh food products. To accommodate this, molecular detection and enumeration techniques are preferred and the gold standard for virus detection in foods is reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT- PCR). This process includes extraction of the virus particles from the food matrix, purification and amplification of the genetic material and detection of unique viral sequences. This technique has been well adopted by the food industry however there remains significant difficulties with viral recovery from foods and matrix interference which can lead to PCR inhibition.

Anne-Marie Perchec Merien

Specialist Adviser Microbiology for NZ Food Safety

Topic: Microbiological letters from the East to the West Islands


Anne-Marie Perchec has been employed by the Ministry for Primary Industries as a Specialist Adviser Microbiology, Food Science and Risk Assessment, for New Zealand Food Safety for five years. She has also a long experience as a veterinary and food microbiology laboratory manager, food safety auditor and microbiology lecturer.

The focus of her current role is to design and/or coordinate scientific research and carry out science and risk assessments to support the development and implementation of MPI standards and other risk management activities (for example for developing regulatory requirements for risk-based food control programmes and risk management programmes). Her role is also to provide timely and practical scientific and technical advice on a wide range of topics, for specific foodborne pathogens and food products to all MPI business groups, including NZ Food Safety (NZFS), and other stakeholders, including consumers.

She has a Veterinary Medicine Degree from the National Veterinary School of Nantes, France, post-graduate diplomas in Microbiology from Pasteur Institute of Paris and a PhD in Microbiology from University of Auckland, New Zealand

Presentation overview 

Presentation overview to come 

Andreas Klieber 

Managing Director, Quality Associates

Topic: Food Fraud, Always Old and Always New


Andreas is the managing director for QAPartners and CEO of QATraining (RTO 41341). QAPartners is a progressive company providing professional services in the quality and food safety sector.

He has worked in the food industry and University sector for over 30 years, having held senior technical management roles with Australian and UK retailers.

Andreas graduated from the University of New South Wales, Australia with a BSc (Hons 1) and PhD in Food Science and Technology.

Following postdoctoral research in Canada, he lectured and undertook further research for 13 years in horticulture and food technology with the Universities of Queensland and Adelaide.

Andreas gained in depth understanding of retail technical and quality management through his 3-year role with the Marks & Spencer in the UK and Coles Supermarkets for 7 years.

Andreas is focussed on helping companies resolve complex issues, improving organisational quality culture and management systems and training team members at all levels of organisations.

He has a strong background and skills helping clients focus on brand protection, risk mitigation and getting quality right first time every time.

For more information on QAPartners go to

Presentation Overview 

There are strong financial drivers for food fraud and the food industry is responding to protect businesses and consumers.

However, there are a number of challenges that if not met can lead to increased risk. This will be highlighted through specific examples showing that much in food fraud is a repeat of know issues, but often with a new twist.

Topics explored include:

  1. Chaos creates opportunity;
  2. Truth in traceability;
  3. Performance vs conformance;
  4. It’s the culture, stupid;
  5. The Vegan challenge.

John W. Spink

PHD, Assistant Professor, Michigan State University

Topic: Food Fraud 


Since 2013, John has been the Director of the Food Fraud Initiative at Michigan State University. His early research and industry engagement supported the foundation of food fraud prevention including as a member of the GFSI Food Fraud Think Tank that developed their first compliance requirements and also as the lead author on the article “Defining the Public Health Threat of Food Fraud” which is the most widely cited definition of the term. Also, their Food Fraud Prevention MOOC (free, massive open online courses) are one of the most common training resources (for more see

Presentation Overview

Food fraud – intentional deception for economic gain using food – is one of the most urgent and important food industry issues. Beyond the challenge of detecting problems and tracing the products through the supply chain, there are more basic management system questions such as “how to start” and “how much is enough.” This presentation will expand beyond the core reaction and detection activities to the creation of a management system to conduct ongoing monitoring and adjustment to the food fraud prevention strategy. Finally, the ultimate need is to provide enough detail to satisfy the resource-allocation decision-maker – to secure funding.

Andrew Steele

Account Director - Retail GS1 Australia

Topic: Traceability into the Future - smart 2D barcodes


Andrew is a leading industry expert and well respected supply chain professional with over 25 years’ experience in fast moving consumers goods and the food retail sector.

Andrew currently leads the Retail Supply Chain Integrity team at GS1 Australia who are responsible for developing insightful initiatives to ensure the highest level of efficiency, safety, traceability and best practice in the Australian Food and Beverage and retail sector. Andrew is an active member of a number of industry working groups in the retail grocery, liquor, meat and fresh produce sectors.

Presentation Overview 

In today’s world, the demand for information from consumers about food products they are purchasing and consuming, is greater than it has ever been. A food supply chain is much more in depth than simply the point of purchase and involves a number of stakeholders all in partnership and relying upon one another to ultimately deliver what is promised to the consumer. Hear how retailers and suppliers both here in Australia and around the world are utilising global supply chain standards to address their needs and the exciting opportunities it brings for closer business to consumer engagement.

Ram Akella

Woolworths Group

Topic: Traceability into the Future - Retailer Perspective


Ram is a strategic business partner within Food Group at Woolworths. He works with the senior leadership teams of Metro, FoodCo & New Business areas on major strategies and transformational initiatives to develop operational plans with sustainable outcomes.Woolworths has more than 3,000 stores across Australia and New Zealand, that span food, liquor, general merchandise and hotels. Woolworths is a proud, home-grown Australian business, employer of more than 198,000 people and committed business partner of many thousand local farmers, producers and manufacturers.

Ram has over 20 years of professional experience focusing his leadership efforts on creating value to customer and business. His leadership experience spans across partnering with business on strategy and delivery of business solutions leveraging people, process and system capabilities. Ram is actively leading the End-to-End Product Traceability for Woolworths Group for more than 24 months. He has been actively representing at various forums and is also a keynote speaker on this topic at various events organised by the industry.

Ram is privileged to work with great leaders and great teams over the number of years and cherishes the quality of relationships with the leaders, and their senior teams for his achievements. He believes that it is vital to track and monitor the organisational activities on a regular basis to demonstrate the progress and value over a period of time.

Presentation Overview

Increasingly, consumers across the globe are driving the need to bring transparency into the global supply chains for assurance of safety, quality and authenticity of products.  In addition, the growing demand for sustainable production methods coupled with the regulatory framework is also acting as a catalyst for a full end-to-end product traceability.  Whilst the changing consumer behaviours and shopping preferences are impacting the global farming and supply chain landscape, this is being clearly noticed in our day-to-day lives in the retail environment.  What opportunities does this create to develop an interoperable end-to-end product traceability ecosystem in Australia?

Kim Tonnet

Regulatory Manager for the Australia Food and Grocery Council

Topic: Food Industry Guide to Allergen Management and Labelling for Australia and New Zealand


Kim is a Food Science graduate from UNSW with over 20 years experience working in FMCG. Her past roles have included quality assurance, research and development and product marketing before she became a regulatory specialist covering food, cosmetics, household cleaners and therapeutics. She is currently the Regulatory Manager for the Australian Food and Grocery Council, which advocates for and supports the food and grocery industry within Australia

Presentation Overview

The Food Industry Guide to Allergen Management and Labelling for Australia and New Zealand is a partnership document of the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) and the Allergen Bureau. The Guide describes industry best practice for the management of allergens, allergen labelling, and allergen communication. This talk will present new information on communicating allergen status change, differentiation of similar products, food recall, the Allergen Risk Review website, and Plain English Allergen Labelling.

Lisa Warren

VITAL® Support – Allergen Bureau

Topic: Food Industry Guide to Allergen Management and Labelling for Australia and New Zealand


With a background in Food Science and Technology, and with a 20 year career working alongside a great number of inspirational people, Lisa’s passion is to help the food industry navigate through the challenges of allergen management. In her VITAL Support role at the Allergen Bureau, Lisa is involved in a variety of projects that address the food industry’s growing demand for information about allergen management and the VITAL Program.

Presentation Overview

The Food Industry Guide to Allergen Management and Labelling for Australia and New Zealand is a partnership document of the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) and the Allergen Bureau. The Guide describes industry best practice for the management of allergens, allergen labelling, and allergen communication. This talk will present new information on communicating allergen status change, differentiation of similar products, food recall, the Allergen Risk Review website, and Plain English Allergen Labelling.

Kirsten Grinter

Allergen Bureau & Nestlé Australia

Topic: Food Industry Guide to the Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling (VITAL®) Program Version 3.0 


Kirsten has worked in several different capacities across her career, R&D, Manufacturing, Research, Regulatory and Nutrition. Her current role is Regulatory, Scientific Affairs & Nutrition Manager for Nestlé Oceania.

Kirsten has been involved with the Allergen Bureau at its inception in 2005 and is passionate about delivering industry allergen management initiatives. Kirsten is the President of the Allergen Bureau and is driving international acceptance of the VITAL risk based program, through the work of the VITAL Scientific Expert Panel.

Kirsten considers that working collaboratively with industry stakeholders, consumer groups and Government to be key for the industry to remain competitive and successful globally.

Presentation Overview 

The Allergen Bureau’s Food Industry Guide to the Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling (VITAL®) Program Version 3.0 replaces the VITAL Program Guide Version 2.0 from 2011. Version 3.0 incorporates a major review by the VITAL Scientific Expert Panel of the science underpinning the VITAL Program as described in the Summary of the 2019 VITAL Scientific Expert Panel Recommendations. This talk will explain the changes to the VITAL Program from the new VSEP recommendations and what users of the VITAL Program need to consider as they transition to VITAL 3.0.

Nerolie Dever

VITAL Certification Working Group & Sanitarium Health Food

Topic: VITAL® Standard Version 1.0


Nerolie has worked for the Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Company for over 27 years.  During this time she has played a key role in the establishment and development of Sanitarium’s Quality and Food Safety Program.  Nerolie is passionate about food quality and safety and enjoys auditing.  

She is currently the Corporate Quality System Manager and is responsible for the management of the Corporate Quality and Food Safety systems.  This involves establishing and maintaining corporate standards for food safety, managing certifications to international and customer proprietary standards and working with site manufacturing and distribution representatives to ensure their successful implementation.  She is a certified Lead Food Safety Auditor (Exemplar Global) and her portfolio of responsibility extends to the management of food safety, quality, and legality compliance for Sanitarium’s domestic and international contract manufacturers, packers and warehousing operators. Most recently she has been intimately involved in the establishment and implementation of COVID-19 management procedures across Sanitarium’s operational and office environments.   

When Nerolie is not working, she and her husband love heading off in their four wheel drive camping and exploring Australia. Closer to home, escaping to their farm for the weekend is a much enjoyed break from work.   

Presentation Overview 

The Allergen Bureau’s VITAL® Standard is a supplementary certification program for food manufacturers that are already certified to GFSI recognised food safety management standards that include allergen management. The VITAL Scheme provides guidance for food manufacturers seeking certification to the VITAL Standard. It contains the scheme rules for management of the VITAL Standard (part A), and the auditable standard (Part B). The talk will cover pre-requisites for implementing the VITAL Standard, how to apply for VITAL certification and how consumers and customers will know a product is VITAL Certified.

Georgina Christensen

VITAL® Coordinator - Allergen Bureau

Topic: VITAL Online Version 3.0.2


Georgina Christensen is the VITAL® Coordinator for the Allergen Bureau and has been in this part-time role for nearly 12 years. This position was created to meet the increasing demand for information and support for the VITAL® Program which is managed by the Allergen Bureau. In this role, Georgina answers enquiries from the local and international food industry about implementing the VITAL Program, provides support for and develops VITAL® Online and develops support materials for the VITAL Program.   

Presentation Overview 

VITAL Online is the Allergen Bureau’s user-friendly, web-based VITAL Calculator. To support the release of the VITAL Program Version 3.0, VITAL Online was updated to include the following key changes and additions - an updated set of Reference Doses, the addition of a Reference Dose for celery in the European Union legislation, updated tree nut groupings, and ‘Update All’ functionality. In this talk, an overview of the key changes will be given including new summary reporting features that provide a summary of all recipes and their allergen status and comparison reporting between VITAL 3.0 and VITAL 2.0.

Jasmine Lacis-Lee

Allergen Bureau & DTS Food Assurance

Topic: VITAL Program Version 3.0 Training


Jasmine Lacis-Lee has a Ba. Science, with more than 20 years’ experience as a food microbiologist and over 15 years’ experience working in the food & beverage industries. Jasmine is a specialist in food safety management working for DTS Food Assurance to support the Australian food manufacturing industry to reduce and mitigate microbiological and allergen risks in their businesses. She holds professional memberships with the ASM, AIFST, EHEDG. She is currently an elected Allergen Bureau Board Director and Co-Chair of the Australian Region of EHEDG.

Presentation Overview

A new VITAL Training Package covering the VITAL Program 3.0 and changes to VITAL Online has been developed by the Allergen Bureau – and provided to Training Providers endorsed to deliver VITAL training. As well as Australia and New Zealand, there are VITAL Training Providers based in the Africa, Europe, and North America, and many of these VITAL Training Providers also offer online and virtual VITAL Training services. This talk will provide an overview of the content in the new VITAL Training Course and outline the course competencies.

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