AIFST State Branches


Deon Mahoney
Head of food safety
PMA Australia-New Zealand

Deon Mahoney is a fellow of AIFST and possesses considerable experience across food science and technology. Over his career his roles have included the development of food safety policy, microbiological risk assessment, risk communication, development and enforcement of food legislation, quality assurance, and training and education.

As Head of Food Safety at PMA A-NZ, Deon provides high level technical support and guidance with the goal of ensuring the safety and suitability of fresh produce.

Deon has previously worked for the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization, as well as with Food Standards Australia New Zealand, and a State regulatory agency. In these roles he has developed and published a wide range of technical guidance material; provided forward-looking scientific advice addressing factors that impact the safety of food products; and been actively involved in Listeria incident monitoring and response.

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Cassandra Budd (Cass)
NPD and Commercialisation Manager
Sweet Potatoes Australia

Cass graduated in 2007 from Charles Sturt University with B.  Applied Science in Food Science. 

Over the past 15 years, Cass has worked in primary industry and fast-moving consumer goods across a range of roles including Quality, Continuous Improvement, Operations, New Product Development. 

She has spent the last 22 years working in the food industry.  Starting out at 14 in a pie shop.  Food certainly is a passion!  But beyond that Cass has a vision for the world where no food is wasted, and no-one is hungry.

Her mission is to create and commercialise products that eliminate food waste and provide food for hungry people.

Cass believes it’s exciting times for Food Technologists globally.  There is a big focus on fighting food waste and with primary production contributing to more than 30% of Australia’s food waste, it’s a terrific opportunity to make a difference – particularly in the agricultural sector. 

Cass hopes are to engage the future leaders in food science though the AIFST and create a support platform to raise the profile of Australia’s talented food scientists.  

Dr Polly Burey
Food Science Senior Lecturer, Associate Head School of Sciences
University of Southern Queensland

Dr Polly Burey graduated from the University of Auckland with a BE (Hons I) in Chemical and Materials engineering in early 2001 but grew up in the horticulture industry.  In late 2001 she came to Australia to do her PhD on an industry-linked confectionery project and never looked back.

Polly’s main passion in life is solving problems and sharing knowledge.  Many of the problems she has worked on have all come back to the food industry.  She likes communicating complex ideas simply, and this has translated into an almost 20-year career in academia teaching many food science and engineering graduates, along with industry-focused research. 

Polly’s recent focus is on rescuing ‘food waste’ and turning it into other useful products.  This involves working on not only the technical and practical processing aspects, but also the economics of doing so (technoeconomics). 

Polly greatly enjoys putting students in contact with people working within the food industry and guiding their development; she is still in contact with students she taught over 15 years ago and now they are guiding her recent graduates.  She also likes bringing industry contacts together when there is benefit to solving larger problems.  If you have a problem, or want to find information Polly is always happy to try and point you in the right direction.   

New South Wales 

Annesley Watson

Annesley Watson is a Fellow of AIFST and a Food Science and Technology graduate of the University of New South Wales.  She is now retired after a 40+ year career which followed a passion for sensory and consumer science which she applied in academia (UNSW) and the food industry – brewing (Tooheys), baking (Arnott’s) and finally snackfoods & beverages (Pepsico).

Annesley has been an active member of AIFST since her undergraduate days, filling a number of roles in the NSW branch and co-founding the initial Sensory group.  Over the years she has always been keen to help other members’ development, generally though supporting meetings and the annual conference, but most specifically in Sensory and Consumer Science, working with others to provide meetings, workshops and symposia.  More recently, she was involved in helping to get the new Mentoring program up and running and has mentored two members in developing their careers. 

She hopes to continue this work with AIFST making use of all our capabilities to provide best value for our membership.

South Australia 

Belinda Hanson-Kenny

I grew up visiting the fabulous and famous Adelaide Central Market every Friday morning before school. It is where we did our weekly shopping – every week! My mum (at 86), still goes every week. It is where I learned about and learned to love food, and the food industry as a whole.

After finishing school, I joined the Australian Army Reserve (Catering Corps). I learned to cook, and outside of the Reserves, cooked in hotels and restaurants (pubs to 5 stars) for 12 years; also completing study in smallgoods manufacture, and Food Technology and moving my work focus to food manufacturing in 1996.

I worked in roles in Product Development and Quality Management, in the poultry processing, large scale bakery production, and egg processing industries, improving my skills, knowledge, and experience, and with further Food Science study, for the next 14 years.

In 2010 Food. Labelling and Safety was born, and my company is now my life!

Food. Labelling and Safety is a “one stop” Food Technology resource for Food and Beverage manufactures and associated industries, locally, nationally, and internationally. I work with single person businesses that sell products at local markets, to large companies that sell products all over the world.

I am also currently studying to qualify as a packaging technologist.

Local Food is my thing – I am a passionate advocate and supporter of South Australian food manufacturers and local brands. Ask me, I will tell you! A lot!!

I am a professional member of AIFST and have been for over 10 years. The AIFST is an absolute essential source of Food Technology resources, training, and information for me, for my company. As a single person business, I liken it to having a large group of extremely knowledgeable work colleagues. I see it as invaluable.


Western Australia 


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