Sunday, July 14, 2024

Outstanding commitment to food safety recognised

New Zealand Food Safety has congratulated Dr Pierre Venter for taking out this year’s Significant Contribution to Food Safety Award at the New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology Awards last night.

Dr Venter (pictured) leads a team at Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited who are behind the co-operative’s food safety and quality science that underpins risk management.

As Director of Research and Development at Fonterra, Dr Venter has more than 20 years of innovation and extensive experience under his belt.

“We are delighted to present Dr Venter with the award,” says New Zealand Food Safety deputy director-general Vincent Arbuckle.

“He has contributed immensely to food safety in New Zealand and internationally throughout his career. He has built a reputation for transformation, operations optimisation, innovative strategic thinking, working with the highest level of integrity, and a deep commitment to product leadership culture and people development.”

Among his team’s many significant achievements are two global patents: a tool for advanced risk communication with a broad range of risk managers, including regulators and customers, and spatial modelling of pathogen distribution inside manufacturing facilities.

“He has shown leadership in food safety science more broadly through his active support of other New Zealand businesses, dealing with food safety and quality challenges, fundamental research supervising post-graduate students, and his contributions to the New Zealand Food Safety and Science Research Centre,” says Mr Arbuckle.

Dr Venter hopes the award will inspire others to undertake a food safety career and to continue innovative thinking and growth of the discipline.

“Food safety is not merely a matter of science and technology, but also of social and ethical commitment. Much of my career has been dedicated to advancing the understanding and application of food safety science, and to collaborating with various partners to ensure the highest standards of food quality and safety,” Dr Venter says.

“This award reflects the collaborative efforts and accomplishments of many in the food safety community, and in particular the team at the Fonterra Research and Development Centre.”

Mr Arbuckle says New Zealand Food Safety’s support of the award is a tangible opportunity to recognise champions of food safety culture, research and applications in food production.

“We applaud Dr Venter, award nominees and past winners whose innovation and commitment support New Zealand’s world-class food safety system,” says Mr Arbuckle.

Previous winners of the Significant Contribution to Food Safety Award include Dr Rob Lake (2023) and Plant and Food’s Food Safety and Preservation Team (2022).

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