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AIFST State Branches

Our State Branch Committees are located in NSW, VIC, TAS, SA, WA and QLD.

We are proud to list the Biographies of our State Branch Chairs below. 

Click here to view the AIFST Operating Principles and Guidelines document 


Pilar Oyarzun

Technical Food Consultant

AAS Food Technology Pty Ltd

After completing a Bachelor of Food Science and Technology at Santiago de Chile University (Chile, South America) in 2010,   Pilar worked as a Food Technologist in Quality Assurance & Quality Control for the Fast Manufacturing Consumer Goods (FMCG), Foodservice and Flavour industries where she finally led her career towards Product Development, by assisting stakeholders in utilising  her technical expertise in Sensory Evaluation, Colours & Flavours, Dairy Technology etc. , by managing to  place the products into the market place.

In 2015, Pilar won a scholarship to study for a Certificate IV in Food Science & Technology at William Angliss Institute (Melbourne). Currently, she is operating as a food technical consultant by collaborating on various projects with Dr Ajay Shah of AAS Food Technology Pty Ltd, Melbourne.

In her spare time, she also cooperates with the Centre of Advanced Sensory Science (CASS) at Deakin University as part of the trained taste panel, and remotely as a Chief Editor for the Alternative Dairy Map at Kind Earth. Tech (US). Pilar has been actively involved with the AIFST since she became a member in February 2020.   She hopes to engage students and others in the food industry to connect and develop professionally via AIFST.

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Cecilia Ngo
Hive & Wellness Australia 

Cecilia graduated from the University of Queensland (UQ) in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in food science, biochemistry, and molecular biology. In her spare time at university, she volunteered at multiple plant research facilities, working on crops to make them more tolerant of a changing climate. In 2015, Cecilia won a Summer Research Scholarship to study the signalling mechanisms of soybeans and snow peas at the Centre for Integrative Legume Research (CILR). In 2017, she also led the UQ Food Science Club Committee through a full and vibrant calendar of events to foster connection between students, academia, and industry. This brush with community and leadership at university has led to a passion for supporting the food industry and bringing people together. Cecilia uses public platforms to share real stories that generate an interest in and an understanding of food science as a vocation. She hopes that through her work, there is a greater appreciation of the food and agriculture industries that touch lives each mealtime.

In her professional life, Cecilia works as a Product Development Food Technologist in the FMCG food manufacturing sector, bringing a variety of products to market both domestically and internationally. Cecilia is a foodie at heart and can be found at the local farmers market with a coffee in hand or queuing for the best croissant in town. She has been involved with the AIFST for several years and has participated in various committees and activities to support its members.

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 

Dr Justin Whitely 

National Quality Assurance Manager, Compass Group Plc. 

Dr. Justin L. Whitely graduated from the University of Western Australia (UWA) with a BSc (First Class Honours) in Biochemistry (1981) before enrolling in a PhD with Associate Professor Peter Hartmann and Dr. David L. Willcox studying the hormonal control of parturition and lactation in the sow. During this period of study, Dr. Whitely joined the Western Australian Department of Agriculture (now the Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development, DPIRD) and worked on projects within the Division of Dairy and Food Technology.

He was awarded his PhD and commenced work with the Craig Mostyn Group as the Group Research and Development Manager and was involved in the development and commercialisation of processes and products for incorporation in the general agri-business sector principally in horticultural and food service markets. From 1990 to 1999, he worked in a number of divisions of the Group including Globe Meats and Linley Valley Pork as a Quality Manager as well as in a production environment as Factory Manager. There were two memorable highlights he achieved during this time: 1) he developed and launched branded shaved products (Adelphi ham) in retail modified atmosphere packaging (first in Australia) with sales increasing four times the rate of the competitor’s product, and 2) he developed and implemented the Quality Management System at Linley Valley Pork to comply with the Western Australian Health Department Regulations. This enabled the abattoir and meat processing operation to commence within the schedule timeframe.

In 1999, Dr. Whitely joined P&O Services (a subsidiary company of P&O Australia) in the role of National Quality Assurance Manager working specifically in the offshore remote catering services division. Not long after that, P&O Services was subject to an acquisition arrangement and the food and remote catering services divisions were ultimately acquired by Compass Group Plc. As the General Manager Health, Safety, Environment and Quality (HSEQ) for Compass, he is responsible for the development and implementation of management systems designed to add value to the business and to reduce risk to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP).

Dr. Whitely manages the compliance of Compass Group Australia to the ISO 9001 quality management standard and to best practice standards in food safety, occupational health, safety and environment as well as to national and state legislative standards. The certification of Compass business to the ISO 9001, OHSAS 18001 (soon to be ISO45001) and ISO 14000 management standards is also managed corporately by Dr. Whitely. In addition, Justin heads up a large loss prevention team that works to sustain the Compass continuous improvement programme by developing and implementing policies and procedures at all levels of the Compass organisation.

At Compass Group Australia, a significant amount of focus is now being placed on bringing ‘safety and risk management to life’ and Justin has introduced a behavioural based safety culture framework derived from the Keil Centre into the business. His team of safety and quality professionals have introduced a mobile App to help capture leadership interactions designed to reinforce the demonstration of safe behaviours as opposed to at-risk behaviours at all of our operating locations. He believes that strong and visible leadership at all levels is critical to fostering the risk management-based cultures within the business leading to improved safety and quality performance.

Dr. Whitely joined Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST) in 1993, has been a member the WA Branch Committee continuously since 1999, served as Branch Chair from 2002 to 2003 and was created Fellow of the Institute in 2013.


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