Frank Yiannas is a renowned food safety leader and executive, food system futurist, author, professor, past president of the International Association of Food Protection, and advocate for consumers. Most recently, he served under two different administrations as the Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a position he held from 2018 to 2023, after spending 30 years in leadership roles with two industry giants: Walmart and the Walt Disney Company. Throughout his career, Frank has been recognized for his role in strengthening food safety standards in new and innovative ways, as well as building effective food safety management systems based on modern, science-based, and tech-enabled prevention principles.
The recipient of numerous awards, in 2007, he received the National Science Foundation’s International Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in Food Safety. He is also the recipient of the Collaboration Award by the US FDA in 2008. He was named the 2015 Industry Professional Food Safety Hero Award by STOP Foodborne Illness, a consumer advocacy group. Mr. Yiannas is a past vice-chairman of the Global Food Safety Initiative. He is also an adjunct Professor in the Food Safety Program at Michigan State University, and in 2017 was awarded the MSU Outstanding Faculty Award.
Dr. Michelle Danyluk is a Professor and Extension Specialist of Food Safety and Microbiology in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Florida (UF). Michelle’s current research and extension interests include microbial food safety and quality, emphasizing the microbiology of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and juices. Her primary research focuses on bacterial pathogens in produce, including production, packing and processing environments, its movement and mitigation within these environments, and the subsequent implications for public health. Michelle’s extension program includes teaching programs related to FSMA, HACCP, GAPs and other specialized food safety programs. Michelle was elected a member of the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Food (ICMSF) in 2016 and to the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) Executive Board in 2019, where she currently serves as President.
Wandile Sihlobo is the Chief Economist of the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz) and the author of “Finding Common Ground: Land, Equity, and Agriculture”.
He is a Senior Lecturer Extraordinary at the Department of Agricultural Economics at Stellenbosch University and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Wits School of Governance, University of the Witwatersrand.
Sihlobo was appointed as a member of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Presidential Economic Advisory Council in 2019 (and re-appointed in 2022), having served on the Presidential Expert Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture from 2018.
He is also a member of the Council of Statistics of South Africa (Stats SA) and a Commissioner at the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC).
Sihlobo is a columnist for Business Day, The Herald and Farmers Weekly magazine.
He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Fort Hare and a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from Stellenbosch University.
Lucia is the owner of Anelich Consulting, a successful national and international food safety consulting and training business, which she started in 2011, in South Africa. Prior to that she spent:
Lucia was instrumental in providing guidance to the food industry on Listeria monocytogenes during and after the 2018 listeriosis outbreak and on SARS-CoV-2 related to food and food packaging safety, during the COVID-19 pandemic, from January 2020. On both topics, she was interviewed extensively for printed media, radio and TV and spoke at 40 events on both topics nationally and internationally.
She was appointed as one of 80 authors in July 2020 for the President of South Africa’s initiative to develop a Country Report on the Impact of Government’s Decisions on the COVID-19 Pandemic. She convened and co-authored the chapter on “Agriculture and the Food Supply Chain”.
She has authored/co-authored a number of publications and chapters in books and has presented over 190 talks nationally and internationally.
Nigel is Distinguished Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Public Health at Massey University, New Zealand, and Emeritus Director of the New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre. He holds an honorary Professorship in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Otago in New Zealand. He has been working on the epidemiology, prevention and control of infectious diseases for over 30 years and over that time has published over 300 journal articles and 12 book chapters. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in recognition of his leadership of research programmes that contributed to reducing the burden of foodborne infectious disease in New Zealand. He is a Fellow of Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ), a member of the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF) and has been a member of the United Kingdom Fleming Fund Expert Advisory Group since 2016.
Executive Senior Director Food Safety and Supply Chain Risk Management
The Acheson Group- TAG- Global Food Safety Consultants
Dr. Liliana Casal-Wardle, Executive Senior Director of Food Safety and Supply Chain Risk Management for TAG- The Acheson Group, has over twenty-eight years of experience in private industry with technical and leadership roles at the corporate level in the US for eighteen years for The Hershey Company and three years for TAG- The Acheson Group. In her function with The Hershey Company, she was responsible for food safety and quality compliance throughout the supply chain, managing suppliers, Hershey’s internal facilities, external partners, and distributors, based in the United States and internationally. Dr. Casal-Wardle has worked with internationally renowned companies, developing and implementing strategies focused on regulatory compliance, risk mitigation, product and processes design for brand and consumer protection. Her areas of expertise include food safety systems, FSMA
compliance, food safety culture, food science, food defense, sanitary equipment design, cleaning and sanitation practices, environmental control programs, thermal processing, hygienic design and product zoning, GFSI requirements, among others. In the area of food safety culture, she has recently published two articles in industry magazines.
Dr. Liliana Casal-Wardle has a multicultural and multilingual background having resided and being professionally active in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, and the United States. He has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has six peer reviewed scientific publications, on tropical parasite diseases while she worked at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the University of São Paulo in Brazil. She is a certified SQF practitioner and a qualified FSMA preventive controls (PCQI) individual. She is also a member of IAFP, AACT and PMCA. She enjoys outside activities like walking on the beach and playing with her dog Enzo.
Sarah Cahill, BSc., PhD
Senior Food Standards Officer, Secretariat Codex Alimentarius Commission
Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme
With a background in microbiology, Sarah worked in the dairy and beverage sectors before receiving her Ph.D. in food microbiology from University College Dublin, Ireland in 1999. She subsequently joined the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome, Italy where she played a key role in the establishment of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Meetings on Microbiological Risk Assessment (JEMRA) in the early 2000’s. Until April 2018 she led the FAO JEMRA Secretariat, overseeing the provision of scientific advice on microbiological hazards in a wide range of foods, from fresh produce to meat and fish, for use both in Codex standard setting processes and by FAO Member countries. She also worked on providing scientific advice to other UN agencies (WFP, UNICEF) on the safety of specific foods destined for food insecure and vulnerable populations and on increasing the accessibility of risk assessment and scientific advice through the development of tools and approaches to support evidence-based decision-making. In 2015 she became the FAO food safety focal point on AMR, contributed to the development of FAOs AMR action plan and was the technical lead for a global capacity development project to engage the food and agriculture sector in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia in efforts to address AMR. In May 2018 she joined the Secretariat of the Codex Alimentarius Commission where she now leads the activities related to communications and awareness raising and played a key role in ensuring work continuity during the COVID pandemic through the adoption of virtual working mechanisms. She is responsible for the work of a number of Codex committees including on food hygiene as well the regional coordinating committees and support the implementation of the annual Codex Alimentarius Commission and bi-annual meetings of the Executive committee and its work streams such as on the future of Codex and strategic planning.
Owen Paul Fraser is the Immediate Past-President of the Africa Section of the AOAC INTERNATIONAL and a Board Member on the AOAC INTERNATIONAL Board of Directors. He is the Co-founder and CEO of Gobiosis Int (Pty) Ltd and works as Food Safety, Quality & Laboratory Operations Development Consultant.
Dr Fraser previously worked as a Scientist at the Institute of Food Safety and Analytical Sciences of the Nestlé Research Centre in Switzerland, Head of the Nestlé Quality Assurance Centre in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire and as Quality Assurance and Scientific Support Manager at the Nestlé Research & Development Centre also in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
In 2004 Owen obtained a Doctor of Philosophy Degree (PhD) in Biological Sciences from the University of Westminster in collaboration with Imperial College London and St Georges University of London, for work done in the Identification and Characterisation of Allergenic Proteins in Seafood and their interactions with the immune system. He continued as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the Medical Biomics Unit at the St. Georges University of London where he worked on the quantification and characterisation of N-Linked oligosaccharides in blood serum and urine glycoproteins. He has authored and co-authored 11 scientific publications.
Janusz holds degrees in both Chemical Engineering from the University of Pretoria and Law from UNISA and is a registered Attorney, Patent Attorney, and a Professional Engineer. In 1997 Janusz became a partner of Hahn & Hahn Attorneys, a boutique law firm founded in 1951 and specializing in technology law and intellectual property law. Janusz is a Custodian Member of the South African Association for Food Science and Technology (SAAFoST).
Prior to qualifying as an attorney, Janusz worked at the CSIR in its Division of Food Science and Technology where he was specifically involved as a Food Engineer in brewing and fruit processing. Later, Janusz worked as a Senior Process Engineer at APV International where he was responsible for the design and commissioning of brewing equipment, fruit juice processing equipment, fruit juice evaporators, milk pasteurization, and cheese and yoghurt production.
Janusz has assisted many leading listed companies as well as SAAFoST with their various Foodstuffs, Cosmetics, and Disinfectants Act and Regulations, Medicines and Related Substances Act and Regulations, and Consumer Protection Act submissions to various Government Departments and Parliament as well as implementation in their businesses. In particular, Janusz has been extensively involved in commenting on the draft food labelling regulations.
This in depth and on-going involvement in the process has given Janusz special insight into Food Law and the Consumer Protection Act.
Kelly-Jade Mulholland is the FSSC Technical Manager for Safety and Quality for Foundation FSSC, overseeing the FSSC 22000 Scheme and the FSSC 22000 Development Program. Foundation FSSC is a global non-profit and independent Scheme owner who aims to provide trust and deliver impact to the consumer goods industry. Kelly has an extensive background in food safety after working at BSI, a Certification Body, where she was the Technical & Compliance Manager for Food, part of the Global Food Team. Prior to this Kelly was a lead auditor for GFSI Schemes such as FSSC 22000 and BRCGS Food and has also worked in the food industry as a QA Manager, Technical Manager and consultant. Kelly is passionate about food safety and food safety management systems.
Shane Rimmell is a Director and shareholder of Food Consulting Services (FCS). Shane began his career at FCS in 1996 after graduating a BSc microbiology from the University of Witwatersrand. Shane also has a BCom in financial and risk management from UNISA. In Shane’s 26 year career at FCS he has gained extensive experience in the food testing and food safety auditing and consulting spheres.
After involvement in Academia and moving on to the world of food safety and security assurance, she started working at FoodPLUS in 2003. As MD, her aim is to close the gaps in many ways; setting standards on primary production level for the safe and sustainable production of food while balancing out the needs and demands from consumers set forward by retailers and others with the capabilities and reality of farming.
Academic background – I am sure this is not needed, but in case you need it.
Completed her undergraduate studies in B.Sc Agric Horticulture and post-graduate Masters degree in Plant Production at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. She completed her Ph.D dissertation at Kansas State University, USA where she focused on herbicide physiology. Other training includes food safety management system lead auditing, project management, and Recognition of Prior Learning assessments.
Work experience include teaching and research at the University of Pretoria, pre- and post-farm gate food safety auditing, and occupational health and safety inspections
Dr Pat O'Mahony has been the Chief Specialist in Food Science & Technology with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) since September 2000. He has a B.Sc. in microbiology, an M.Sc. in biotechnology and a Ph.D. in plant molecular biology, followed by years of research experience in University College Dublin, University of Kentucky USA, and the Agricultural Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture. In his role with the FSAI he has responsibility for a number of regulatory areas including novel food, GM food, food enzymes, nanotechnology, irradiated food, food allergens, emerging risks and the technical detection of food fraud. He represents Ireland on the EU Expert Working Group for novel food and the OECD Working Party for the Safety of Novel Food and Feed. He also represents Ireland on three European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) expert networks that deal with novel food, GM food and Nanotechnology.
Ilse Liedemann is the Head of Microbiology Services for Microchem Lab Services, a private food and pharmaceutical testing laboratory. She has her Masters of Science in Biotechnology specializing in molecular detection of pathogens. She heads up the Microbiology Research and Development division to investigate relevant initiatives to support client requirements and market demands. The Microbiology laboratories support the food industry to verify food and food processing quality criteria, and to ensure consumer safety with pathogen testing.
Co-Founder & Director @MiChem Dynamics
"Vinay Moodley has a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbial Biotechnology from the University of Kwazulu-Natal. He is a qualified microbiologist, ISO/IEC 17025 and ISO 15189 facilitator, auditor, and management system expert with over 10 years of experience in the industry. As an accomplished Director, Vinay is known for his expertise in food, water, and related industries. He is a dedicated professional who is passionate about microbiology and food safety, and is committed to providing exceptional service to his clients and customers."
Dr Dharmarai Naicker has business management experience at an executive level (15 yeras in senior management), supported by the combination of scientific and technical qualifications. With a Master’s in Business Leadership and a PhD in Mycotoxicology, she has managed in both the Veterinary, Bioprospecting and Agroprocessing sectors. She is a Member of the Board of the National Laboratory Association of South Africa where the needs of the Testing Industry in South Africa that services food, Water, Energy, Civil Engineering and Standard Compliance markets are addressed. She also sits on the National Foundation Research review panels for funding requests from within the National System of Innovation as per invitation and was the Codex chair on behalf of BEVSA leading the panel review of the Harmonized testing and export requirements for foods from Africa. Currently, she is the Business manager Health and Nutrition – SGS Southern Africa focusing on expanding testing services in input testing, food safety testing, cosmetics & hygiene and Health and Wellness in South Africa and the continent.
Jasomay Pillay has over 20 years of experience in the Food and Beverage industry, spanning the Chemistry and Microbiology analysis laboratory sector. She is a qualified food technologist, currently employed at Assurecloud with her experience gained at CSIR and other laboratories. She also holds a degree in Business Administration and is currently in the process of completing her MBA.
Izaak Breitenbach heads up the Broiler Organisation of the South African Poultry Association (SAPA), an organisation that represents interests of the wider poultry industry.
Breitenbach grew up in the poultry industry in South Africa, starting his career in a poultry genetics company, Ross Poultry Breeders. While with Ross, he spents several years in the United Kingdom as business manager for Eastern and Western Europe, and later as technical manager for Aviagen Ltd globally outside of the Americas.
Over time, he served as managing director in a number of poultry companies, including Ross Poultry Breeders, Supreme Poultry and Day Break Farms. Breitenbach’s interest in the bigger poultry picture saw him gain experience in the feed industry, managing the food processing division for Afgri Ltd, which included companies such as Afgri Animal Feeds, Nedan Oils, and Afgri Milling Maize and Soya, among others.
He later started his own consulting business and consulted for clients across Africa and the Middle East and served on the boards of several companies like NPI in Namibia and Verde Beef in Ethiopia In his current role at SAPA the key objective is to improve the trade environment for the poultry industry in South Africa. Industry profits and growth have been decimated after 10 years of competition with illegal, unfair and unethical trade practices.
Johann Kotze is currently the CEO of SAPPO. He leads a team of industry specialists in designing and implementing a range of high-impact industry interventions across the pig value chain. Previously, he was a commercial banker with extensive experience in African agriculture. He is passionate about innovation and believes that multi-stakeholder collaboration could accelerate growth in South African agriculture.
Najib holds a national higher qualification in Food Technology and Packaging Technology. She has further enhanced her knowledge base by obtaining an Advanced business Management degree and a Master of Science in Strategic supply chain management. She has 17 years’ experience within the FMCG across the Food, beverage, cosmetics and packaging sectors.
Najib’s knowledge includes but is not limited to expertise across categories in the food and beverage industry which include red meat, poultry, fresh produce, cereals and grains; that extends across multiple food process technologies. She has previously applied her knowledge and skills as a technical specialist, providing training, consultancy and auditing services related to Quality and Food Safety management.
Najib is currently employed as the SHERQ Director at RCL FOODS, where she adds value to the strategy, design and implementation, training and development in the SHERQ space.
Obtained a National Diploma in Food Technology in 1990 from Technikon Witwatersrand.
Joined Pick n Pay as a Quality Controller after qualifying but was soon promoted to Food Technologist in various categories including processed meats, fresh produce, poultry, groceries and special events.
Appointed as Technical Manager for the Produce Division, Gauteng in 1996. Further she completed a Marketing Management Diploma from Damelin in 1997. Then promoted to Senior Buyer in the Produce Division - a position held for 3 years. In 2001 was further promoted to National Produce Technical Manager, managing a team of food technologists on a national level for the Produce Division.
In November 2004, appointed National Technical Manager for Foods, managing the technical teams from all food divisions including Butchery, Bakery, Delicatessen, Produce and Corporate Brands. This position was short-lived, as Cindy was then moved back to the Corporate Brands Division in July 2005 as the General Manager.
In March 2006, Cindy was appointed as the Corporate Brands, General Manager.
In 2007 Pick n Pay embarked on the single biggest rebranding exercise in the history of South African retail. As the company evolved into the new and dynamic brand that we have come to know today, so too did the Housebrand products. This saw the launch of PnP, PnP No Name and a number of exciting new additions in terms of the Organic and Green environmentally friendly products. In October 2011 we launched the PnP Finest range, the premium brand in the three-tier programme.
In January 2014, Cindy was appointed as the General Manager for the Technical division responsible for Food Safety, Product Specifications and Product Quality for all Pick n Pay Branded Products and safety and compliance of all brands supplied to Pick n Pay.
Currently based at the Head Office in Kensington JHB.
Amanda McCarthy has enjoyed a long career in food quality and safety in manufacturing, food service, food retail and food safety certification, recently joining the Global Standards Body BRCGS* as their Technical Operations Director. She has audited to food safety standards, and issued certificates to sites all over the world, including in South Africa. Amanda is a fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology, a Chartered Quality Professional, and is currently Chair of the BSI Standards Committee on Food Safety Management Systems.
*BRCGS Global Standard for Food Safety has been the premier food safety standard for over 20 years and was the first food safety standard to be GFSI-benchmarked.
Director, Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)
The Consumer Goods Forum
Erica Sheward is the Director of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) at The Consumer Goods Forum, a global industry network working with its 400+ member companies to support Better Lives Through Better Business.
Leading the CGF’s work in product safety, Erica is responsible for defining the strategic development roadmap of GFSI, steering Working Groups and Local Groups and overseeing collaborations with key private and public partners. Ultimately, Erica’s vision for GFSI is to further expand and strengthen its ability to lead food safety advancements globally, working towards GFSI’s vision of safe food for consumers everywhere.
Erica is an internationally-renowned expert in food safety management. Prior to joining the CGF, she spent 14 years working for a UK food manufacturer, six years in food safety academia as both a lecturer and researcher, and five years in the UK government’s Office for Product Safety & Standards, among other roles. She puts her rich experience, leadership skills and commitment to continuous improvement at the service of GFSI.
Ruth Willis is the Team Leader for Novel Foods and Food Innovation Risk Assessment at the UK Food Standards Agency. She has a Bsc in Biological Sciences and has been working in a range of scientific and regulatory roles in the UK Government since 2004. Ruth’s roles have focused on food regulation. For the last eight years she has specialised in novel foods risk assessment and regulation. Representing the UK within the EU. Ruth is the Technical Secretary for the UK’s Committee of experts on novel foods and products of genetic technologies the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP). Since 2018 she has been leading the teams developing the UK capability to take forward assessment of regulated products such as novel foods post EU Exit.
Chief People and Transformation Officer at KFC
Akhona Qengqe is the recently appointed General Manager at KFC Africa. She is responsible for overseeing the strategic direction and overall operations of the organisation and will also be working closely with the full leadership team to continue to drive profitability and relevance for the business. She started at KFC in 2015 as a Development Director before moving into the role of Transformation and Diversity and Inclusion in 2017 and later becoming the Chief People and Transformation Officer, Africa in 2020.
In her most recent role as Chief People and Transformation Officer at KFC, Akhona was responsible for developing and executing KFC's global people strategy in support of the overall business' strategic direction.
Prior to this role, she was the Director of Transformation for more than two years and instrumental in crafting a diversity and inclusion agenda for the business where through initiatives such as #IamMoreThanWhatYouSee and more recently KFC’s Women on the Move (WOM) Programme she is able to demonstrate thought leadership and build credibility with both peers and franchisees, specifically through bringing KFC’s strategy to life.
Having been in the franchise industry for over 25 years, Akhona has an impeccable understanding of what it takes to empower the most important aspect of any business – its people. She is proud to actively lead a culture that propels results and inspires employees and franchisees to see where they fit into the bigger picture of Yum! She believes that the business’s values should be something that employees can live by – a culture that fuels the business.
Akhona has also held various senior positions including Board Chair of the Franchise Association of South Africa, Head of Convenience Retail at Shell South Africa and Director of Africa Franchise Development at Yum! Restaurants International. Furthermore, Akhona serves as an executive council at the Franchise Association of South Africa, and is a chairperson for the Transformation, Stakeholder and Funding Committee at the same association.
She holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics from the University of Johannesburg and a Marketing Certificate from the University of South Africa.
Since May 2016, Penny Campbell has been managing the Directorate Food Control in the National Department of Health. She holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from the University of the Western Cape and a Certificate in Legislative drafting from the University of Pretoria. Her base degree is a BSc and a Post Graduate Diploma in Dietetics from the University of KwaZuluNatal.
Her Public Health experience, involves having worked at Provincial as well as District level in KwaZuluNatal. She has also managed a Child Survival Programme for an NGO and worked for UNICEF as a Nutrition Project Officer.
Penny joined the Directorate Food Control in November 2006 and some of her responsibilities then included the supporting and advising of the provinces/municipalities and other role players on matters related to information, education, communication (IEC), law enforcement, importation of foodstuffs, HACCP implementation, food monitoring, street-vended foods, as well the drafting and amendments of Regulations under the foodstuffs Cosmetics & Disinfectants Act 54 of 1972. She had extensive experience in assuring the Food Safety aspects relating to Special Events such as the FIFA SWC 2010, FIFA CHAN Tournament and the Africa Cup of Nations held in South Africa.
She has been exposed to varied interests and has gained wide and diverse knowledge and experience in aspects such as to Human Nutrition, Community responses to Child Rights and Health, HIV/AIDS & TB and mitigation thereof, Food Control-Legislation, Enforcement, Food Safety programmes and food importation.
Penny is a member of SAAFoST, the Nutrition Society for South Africa and the Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA).