Keynote Speakers

Professor Kirk Dolan

Kirk Dolan is Professor with joint appointments in Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition, and Department of Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering, Michigan State University (MSU), USA.  He previously worked for Pharmaceutical & Food Specialists in San Jose, CA, doing third-party audits and implementing HACCP plans in food canneries.  His research is on modelling effects of thermal processing on safety and quality of foods, and on inverse modelling problems and parameter estimation.  He is Chair and Organiser of the annual Inverse Problems Symposium, held every third year at MSU.  His extension work includes organising and co-teaching the FDA-mandated Better Process Control School for certification, and co-teaching annual HACCP courses to industry.

Keynote Lecture:  “Estimating Parameters from Dynamic Data:  Advantages and Challenges”

This talk will provide theory and examples on how to use one-step estimation to obtain parameters from dynamic data when temperature, moisture content, or other conditions are changing during the experiment.  This talk will cover these topics:  i) How to determine which parameters can be estimated, and which will be the most accurate; ii) Importance of scaled sensitivity coefficients; iii) Methods to handle correlation between parameters; and iv) How to determine optimal experimental design for one-step estimation.  Practical examples of one-step estimation for microbial inactivation and for microbial growth will be shown from real dynamic data sets.  Applications to industrial data sets will be highlighted.

Professor Jukka Ranta

 Jukka Ranta is a senior expert on Bayesian modelling and biostatistics at the Risk Assessment Research Unit of the Finnish Food Authority. He is also Adjunct Professor of Biostatistics at the Helsinki University, and a member of the EFSA network on Microbiological Risk Assessment. He graduated from Applied Mathematics, and his PhD thesis in 2001 was on Bayesian modelling of human disease epidemiology. Since then, he has worked on food safety risk assessments. These have focused on quantitative microbiological risk assessment (QMRA), microbiological criteria, intake assessment, farm-to-fork models and source attribution. The cross-cutting themes have been Bayesian inference, evidence synthesis and predictions with Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) simulations.

Keynote Lecture: “Bayesian Modelling in QMRA: Separated but Together. The Pains and the Gains”

 This talk will give an introduction to Bayesian applications in QMRA, showing how evidence-based risk assessment can utilise Bayesian evidence synthesis with hierarchical models and how uncertainty quantification changes with data. Examples are drawn from past assessments, and concern estimation of prevalence and concentration of food pathogens, microbiological criteria, food consumption and intake estimation, accounting variability and uncertainty. Opportunities and obstacles within quantitative risk assessment are discussed with comparison to other Monte Carlo simulations.

Dr. Hans Marvin

 Hans Marvin is a Senior Scientist at RIKILT Wageningen University and Research, the Netherlands. His research specialisms are: (i) methods for emerging risk identification and early warning; (ii) effect of drivers (among others climate change) on food safety; (iii) Big data and application of Bayesian Networks in prediction models for food safety and food fraud; iv) safety of engineered nanoparticles including stakeholders analysis (among others consumer perception); and (v) development of decision support systems.

Keynote Lecture: “Big data in Food Safety: Opportunities and Constraints”

Food supply chains are complex and vulnerable to many drivers having a direct and/or indirect effect on the development of food safety risks. Safe food is ensured by frequent control of foodstuff but current practices are costly. A paradigm shift is needed where a system approach is applied and decisions on compliance are made at the sample site. This talk will present which big data applications are relevant for food safety and examples of implementations will be provided that support the needed paradigm change including an outlook to the future.

Professor Donald W. Schaffner

 Donald W. Schaffner is Extension Specialist in Food Science and Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University, USA. His research interests include handwashing, cross-contamination and quantitative microbial risk assessment. He has authored more than 170 peer-reviewed publications and educated thousands of food industry professionals around the world. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists, the American Academy of Microbiology and International Association for Food Protection (IAFP). He has served as an Editor for Applied and Environmental Microbiology since 2005.  Dr. Schaffner was the President of IAFP in 2013-2014. In his spare time, he co-hosts the Food Safety Talk podcast.

Keynote lecture: “Challenges and Opportunities in Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessments for Viruses”

Enteric viruses are an important food safety concern and have been associated with many foodborne disease outbreaks. Norovirus and Hepatitis A virus have been implicated in majority of outbreaks. Over the past two decades, almost two dozen food- or waterborne viral risk assessments have been published, focusing on commonly contaminated foods and environmental sources associated with outbreaks. This talk will summarise the state of the science in quantitative microbial risk assessment as applied to foodborne viruses, including the use of viral surrogates. Challenges in viral QMRA will be highlighted including methodological issues, limited data on survival in foods and cross-contamination potential, use of viral surrogates and the availability of dose-response models.

Professor Francis Butler

 Francis Butler is Head of Subject in the School of Biosystems and Food Engineering at University College Dublin, Ireland. His main research is in food safety with a particular focus on quantitative risk assessment of microbiological hazards in foods. He has led several large-scale quantitative microbial risk assessments in foods and has made novel contributions in the characterisation of microbial distributions in food and developing novel sampling strategies for contaminants in foods. More recently, he is leading several projects using molecular microbiological techniques to identify the sources and routes of transmission of pathogens through the food chain.

Keynote Lecture: “Integrating Next Generation Sequencing into Microbial Risk Assessments”

This talk will highlight the role that next generation sequencing has in undertaking microbial risk assessments. Next generation sequencing has unique possibilities in terms of ‘fingerprinting’ and characterising the microbial pathogens present in foods. The challenge is to how to integrate this often-large amount of data into quantitative risk assessments. The presentation will explore how genomic data impacts on the key elements of microbial risk assessment – hazard identification, exposure assessment, hazard characterisation and risk characterisation. The talk will give some case studies of using next generation sequencing to track microbial hazards in food process facilities.