Speaker Line Up

MEET THIS YEAR'S SPEAKERS

Our Keynote Speakers

Andy Du Plessis

Managing Director: FoodForward SA

Andy has been involved in the development sector for 30 years, and is currently the managing director of FoodForward SA, a non-profit organisation that recovers edible surplus food from the food system to address food insecurity and malnutrition at scale, and reduce the impact of food loss and waste on the environment.

Andy has led the transformation of FoodForward SA over the past 11 years, making it the largest food distribution organisation in Africa, with their very own digital platform called FoodShare, which is used in Woolworths, PnP, Food Lovers Market, and Spar retail stores.

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Andy is a food justice activist, who enjoys collaboration with NPOs, government and the corporate sector around issues relating to organisation design, food security, food systems, nutrition, information technology, policy and advocacy. Prior to joining FoodForward SA, he was the managing director of the Peninsula School Feeding Association for 15 years.

Andy, who holds an MPhil degree, is an ardent advocate for Food Donation Regulations for South Africa and believes that increasing access to nutritious surplus food for all South Africans improves livelihoods, can eliminate malnutrition, and promotes economic growth.

Ravi Pillay

Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), South Africa

Ravi Pillay is a seasoned executive with over 25 years of experience in leadership roles across various continents. Currently, he serves on the board of Consumer Goods and Service Ombudsman and Food Forward South Africa. Previously, he was a board member and advisor to the Chairperson and Managing Director of Nestle. It was at Nestle, the largest food company in the world, where Ravi realised how leadership influences a company’s attitude towards the safety of its employees and the safety of its consumers. Today, as a faculty member of Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), Ravi lecturers in the areas of sustainability, marketing and corporate governance. His special research area is multi-stakeholder partnerships and also very passionate about mobilising support to increase woman’s’ participation in leadership roles.

Dr Ellen Evans

ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre, UK

Dr Ellen Evans is a Reader in Food Safety Behaviour at the ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre in the UK. As a qualified professional chef, and after completing a PhD focusing on the food safety risks associated with listeriosis among older adults at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Dr Evans has conducted numerous cognitive and behavioural food safety research projects. The relationship between people and food fascinates her.

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Ellen states that she is intrigued by the influence of knowledge and perceptions upon behaviour, and the impact this has on food safety. This interest spans from food handlers in the food sector through to the consumer in the domestic environment. Consequently, Ellen is involved with innovative research utilising novel research technologies regarding numerous critical areas of food safety research including, consumer food safety in the domestic setting; food safety culture and compliance in the food manufacturing industry and food service sector, and food safety education and communication in healthcare settings.

Ellen is particularly active with the International Association for Food Protection and is Past-President of the UK Association for Food Protection. Ellen’s contribution to food protection has resulted in a recognisable research profile, with over 40 published journal articles, 150 conference contributions and numerous research-based reports for the Welsh and Scottish Governments. Ellen is a BBC expert contact for issues pertaining to food safety, and she regularly contribute to TV and radio in English and Welsh. Ellen is passionate about consumer food safety outreach activities, she recently distributed 1,000 refrigerator thermometers and 1,000 cooking probes to consumers in citizen science research projects.

Dr John Donaghy

Nestlé, Switzerland

Dr John Donaghy holds the responsibility for Food Safety in Global Operations at Nestlé. This includes oversight of HACCP, food safety microbiology, industrial hygiene, prerequisite programmes and allergen management programmes. He leads a global team of food safety experts, overseeing implementation  of key Nestlé Food Safety and Quality standards, at market and factory level.

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Previously, John worked as the Senior Food Safety Microbiologist in Nestlé R&D. He also represents Nestlé on the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications of Food (ICMSF), other Codex Observer groups and several food safety advisory stakeholder groups.

Prior to joining Nestlé, he worked as Project Leader in food safety microbiology at the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute (AFBI), N. Ireland, on food safety projects funded by National Government, Food Industry and European Union. Previously, he worked as Head of Government Scientific Services Laboratory.

Sara Mortimore

Walmart, USA (retired)

From 2019 to 2024, Sara was the Global Vice President of Food Safety for Walmart Inc. This role had enterprise-wide responsibility for the company’s more than 10,500 brick and mortar stores, fast developing ecommerce business, supply chain and private brands supplier food safety program, including owned manufacturing facilities. During this period the company transformed its food safety management system and in doing so, focused on leveraging the food safety knowledge and experience from team members around the globe.

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From 2008 to 2019, Sara was the Vice President of Product Safety, Quality and Regulatory Affairs at Land O’Lakes, Inc., the second largest agricultural cooperative in the USA, which operates some of the most respected brands in agribusiness and food including dairy foods, animal nutrition (Purina Animal Nutrition), and in agricultural inputs.

Sara started her career with Glaxo SmithKline, working as a Research Technologist in R&D. In 1989 she joined Grand Metropolitan Foods which later became Pillsbury and subsequently was incorporated by General Mills Inc.  She stayed there for close on 19 years moving through a series of global assignments all in Food Safety and Quality,

Sara is also the co-author of many successful books and chapters on HACCP and food safety management.  She has served on the GFSI Steering Committee and as a trustee of the Royal Society for Public Health, as well as on several editorial boards.

Virginia Siebenrok

World Food Programme, Italy

Virginia Siebenrok is the Chief Food Safety and Quality for the World Food Programme in Rome. This role encompasses Food Safety and Quality Systems, Food and Packaging R&D and Scientific and Regulatory Affairs.

Before joining WFP in 2018, she worked for over 15 years with the private sector, always in areas linked to Food Safety and Quality – systems implementation, supplier auditing, sanitation and hygienic design, HACCP, and development of global food safety and quality policies.

Virginia is a chemical engineer with post-graduation in processing engineering and is a national of Brazil.

 

Dr Leon Gorris

Food Safety Futures, The Netherlands

Dr Leon Gorris is a food safety professional whose career has been dedicated to food safety research, risk assessment and management. Dr Gorris has fulfilled roles in various stakeholder groups including government, academia, and industry. He was most recently employed with Unilever for 21 years, stationed in The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and China, where he was responsible for food innovation research, food safety risk assessment, risk management, and regulatory affairs.

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During this time, he also held a special professorship in food safety microbiology at Wageningen University. After leaving Unilever, Dr Gorris established Food Safety Futures, a consulting firm working for international clients on food safety risk assessment, risk management, and capability building. Prior to Unilever, he served with the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture in Wageningen for eight years in food preservation innovation research.

Dr Gorris is recognized internationally for his expertise in several food safety domains, including general food microbiology, microbial physiology and ecology, food technology,  food safety risk assessment and management, food safety legislation and regulation. He has been a member of ICMSF for more than 20 years, serving twice as its secretary and as its Codex Alimentarius contact for most of that time. He shares his food safety expertise through many organizations, including FAO, WHO, JEMRA; ICMSF, IAFP, ILSI; CIFST, NZIFST; NZFSSRC. Dr Gorris is a formally registered, visiting professor in food safety microbiology at three universities in China.

Anet Muir

Department of Water & Sanitation, South Africa

Anet Muir is a Chief Director for Water Use Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement in the Department of Water and Sanitation.  She obtained a MSc in Environmental Management from the University of Johannesburg in 2001 and in 2013 she completed her LLB degree at the University of South Africa.   She has 22-years’ experience in the water sector and is a designated EMI Grade 1. 

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Anet obtained her early training as a scientist at the Department focussing on water use authorisations.  She has experience in water services, dam safety, economic regulation, water use authorisations, compliance and enforcement.  She further has environmental impact management of large infrastructure development knowledge and experience.

In 2021, Anet was appointed in her current posts where she leads a team focussing on regulation (water services and water resource), compliance and enforcement.  She is currently involved in the water services sector reform to improve the performance of water service provision.

Dr Lucia Anelich

Anelich Consulting, South Africa

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 5 years at the Consumer Goods Council where she established a food safety body for the South African food industry, a first for the country. Lucia also spent 25 years at Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa as HOD Biotechnology and Food Technology and Associate Professor.

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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. She is in great demand by all forms of media for her expert opinions on food safety matters.

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”. 

Lucia is:

  • Member of the International Commission on the Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF)
  • Adjunct Professor at Central University of Technology, SA
  • Past President of SAAFoST
  • Past Chair of the Scientific Council of the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST)
  • First SA female Fellow of the International Academy of Food Science and Technology
  • Co-editor of a new book “Present Knowledge in Food Safety”, published in 2023
  • Invited Member of the African Union Advisory Group on Food Safety
  • Technical expert and consultant for FAO and UNIDO
  • First woman to be awarded the SAAFoST President’s Award in September 2021
  • First person from Africa to be invited to present the Ivan Parkin lecture at the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) in July 2022.

She has authored/co-authored a number of publications and chapters in books and has presented over 190 talks nationally and internationally. 

Dr James Hartley

Mondelēz International, UK

Dr James Hartely (Jim) currently leads the Global Sanitation organisation within Mondelēz International.  This group is responsible for defining the overall global strategy, and for designing, implementing and improving standards for Hygienic Design, Sanitation, Pest Control and Good Manufacturing Practices across 135 manufacturing facilities in 45 countries. 

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Jim joined Mondelēz International in 2018, with previous roles as European Quality & Product Safety Director for Sensient Flavors and over 15 years in quality, EHS and technical management for Nestlé.  In 2020, Jim was elected as an Advisory Board member of the European Hygienic Engineering & Design Group (EHEDG), representing the food manufacturing industry.

Jim holds a BSc and PhD in Chemistry from the University of Birmingham (UK), advanced qualifications in auditing, food hygiene and HACCP, and has authored and contributed to several industry publications relating to sanitation and hygienic design.

Janusz Luterek

Hahn & Hahn, South Africa

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 and is a partner of Hahn & Hahn. Janusz is a Custodian Member of the South African Association for Food Science and Technology (SAAFoST) as well as a SAAFoST President’s Award recipient.

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Janusz has assisted many leading listed companies as well as the CGCSA and 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.

Janusz is the go-to person for leading companies for food safety liability training and when food safety recalls or other food safety issues with legal consequences arise.

Lee Griessel

VYANZO, South Africa

Lee Griessel is a dynamic and self-motivated Executive & Leadership Coach and is a credentialed Comensa Master Coach (CMC). Lee has built her own coaching practice, VYANZO, over the last 15 years and has a wealth of professional experience and proven successes on a global scale.

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Lee is able to collaborate with senior leadership to ensure leadership and management development interventions are cohesive across all levels. Adept at program management, project management, strategic planning, and development for large, complex organizations. Expert at curating, designing, and facilitating a diverse range of development interventions that uplift capability of managers, leaders and teams. Lee is familiar with embedding organizational strategy and values into solutions and is capable of balancing the needs of both the business and the individual.

https://za.linkedin.com/in/leegriessel

Liesl Breytenbach

Animal Feed Manufacturers Association (AFMA), South Africa

Liesl Breytenbach is a distinguished leader in the animal feed industry, with over two decades of experience in animal nutrition, feed safety and legislation. Serving as the Executive Director of the Animal Feed Manufacturers Association (AFMA) since August 2023, Liesl has been instrumental in shaping industry standards, driving regulatory compliance, and facilitating dialogue between stakeholders within the feed and food value chain.

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Her journey began in 2000 at the University of Stellenbosch, where she earned her B.Sc in Agriculture, majoring in Biochemistry, Animal Physiology, and Animal Science. Furthering her education, Liesl obtained a Master of Science in Agricultural Sciences, specializing in Monogastric Nutrition in 2004.

With a diverse background encompassing roles at Meadow Feeds, AFGRI Animal Feeds, and the Animal Feed Manufacturers Association, Liesl has showcased versatility and proficiency in technical advisory, feed formulation, and operational management. As the Technical & Regulatory Manager at AFMA from 2015 to 2023, Liesl played a pivotal role in liaising with government bodies, drafting regulatory frameworks, and ensuring compliance with industry standards. Her efforts were instrumental in the development of new feed legislation and regulatory frameworks in South Africa, underscoring her commitment to advancing the industry.

A dedicated advocate for continuous learning, Liesl’s involvement in various local and international memberships, including the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP), the South African Society for Animal Science (SASAS) and the International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF), underscores her commitment to professional development.  She has also recently been elected as Director of the South African Grain Laboratory and is involved in numerous agricultural forums and steering committees.

Her mantra, “Through challenge lies our opportunities,” encapsulates her relentless pursuit of excellence and armed with a passion for driving positive change, Liesl believes that unlocking the power of collaboration amongst value chain partners plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of safe, nutritious food for all.

 

MEET THIS YEAR'S PANELLISTS

Lida Serfontein

Theron’s Meat Products, South Africa

Lida has been the Quality Assurance Manager  at Theron’s Meat Products for the past 10 years.

Theron’s Meat products are a meat processing facility situated in Pretoria West. The facility’s Owner and CEO is Mr Dawie Theron and recently, the company celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2023.

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Lida has her roots in the dairy industry with the late Ina Jordaan from DSA (Dairy Standards agency) as her mentor. She also received most of her food safety training from Food Focus – lead auditor course by Linda Jackson in 2006. In addition to this, the five day HACCP course by Cobus Brink also through Food Focus.

Gathering from the above, she has had her fair share of audits the past 30+ years.

Dr Leon Gorris

Food Safety Futures, The Netherlands

Dr Leon Gorris is a food safety professional whose career has been dedicated to food safety research, risk assessment and management. Dr Gorris has fulfilled roles in various stakeholder groups including government, academia, and industry. He was most recently employed with Unilever for 21 years, stationed in The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and China, where he was responsible for food innovation research, food safety risk assessment, risk management, and regulatory affairs.

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During this time, he also held a special professorship in food safety microbiology at Wageningen University. After leaving Unilever, Dr Gorris established Food Safety Futures, a consulting firm working for international clients on food safety risk assessment, risk management, and capability building. Prior to Unilever, he served with the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture in Wageningen for eight years in food preservation innovation research.

Dr Gorris is recognized internationally for his expertise in several food safety domains, including general food microbiology, microbial physiology and ecology, food technology,  food safety risk assessment and management, food safety legislation and regulation. He has been a member of ICMSF for more than 20 years, serving twice as its secretary and as its Codex Alimentarius contact for most of that time. He shares his food safety expertise through many organizations, including FAO, WHO, JEMRA; ICMSF, IAFP, ILSI; CIFST, NZIFST; NZFSSRC. Dr Gorris is a formally registered, visiting professor in food safety microbiology at three universities in China.

Cindy Jenks

Pick n Pay, South Africa

Cindy obtained a National Diploma in Food Technology in 1990 from Technikon Witwatersrand, South Africa. She then 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.

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Cindy was appointed as Technical Manager for the Produce Division, Johannesburg, Gauteng in 1996. Further she completed a Marketing Management Diploma from Damelin in 1997 and was then promoted to Senior Buyer in the Produce Division – a position held for 3 years.

In 2001, Cindy 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, Cindy was appointed as 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, they 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.

Charlotte Metcalf

South African National Bottled Water Association (SANBWA), South Africa

After qualifying as a food technologist, Charlotte spent 10 years managing laboratories and quality assurance processes for Ceres Fruit Processors before joining SANBWA in 2000 to assist the voluntary association of bottlers in designing best-practice operational standards for bottling plants.

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Career highlights include pioneering the first in-house patulin testing in the country in 1997, successfully lobbying the government to introduce more relevant legislation for the bottled water industry, drafting the bottled water industry’s first environmental guidelines, and lead-authoring SANBWA Packaged Water Standard: Requirements for Source Water, Processing and Packaging (first published in 2010; latest revision in September 2019).

Charlotte serves on the SABS committee for non-alcoholic beverages, is a professional member of SAAFoST, and represents the bottled water industry on CGCSA forums as well as internationally with NMWE (Natural Mineral Waters Europe) and ICBWA (International Council for Bottled Waters).

Anet Muir

Department of Water & Sanitation, South Africa

Anet Muir is a Chief Director for Water Use Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement in the Department of Water and Sanitation.  She obtained a MSc in Environmental Management from the University of Johannesburg in 2001 and in 2013 she completed her LLB degree at the University of South Africa.   She has 22-years’ experience in the water sector and is a designated EMI Grade 1. 

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Anet obtained her early training as a scientist at the Department focussing on water use authorisations.  She has experience in water services, dam safety, economic regulation, water use authorisations, compliance and enforcement.  She further has environmental impact management of large infrastructure development knowledge and experience. In 2021, Anet was appointed in her current posts where she leads a team focussing on regulation (water services and water resource), compliance and enforcement.  She is currently involved in the water services sector reform to improve the performance of water service provision.

Billy Malose Makhafola

Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), South Africa

Billy Malose Makhafola is the Director for Food Safety and Quality Assurance in the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development. He previously held a position as a Management Systems Specialist on ISO 9001: 2000, Global GAP and HACCP with the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS). 

In his current role, he is responsible for policy development in respect of all matters resorting under the Agricultural Product Standards Act 119 of 1990 and Liquor Products Act 60 of 1989.

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Recently, he was instrumental in the amendment of the Liquor Products Act where among other things, provision was made for the regulation of beer and traditional beer products. He also played a pivotal role in the publication of Agricultural Product Standards Amendment Act 12 of 2023 wherein provision was made for management Control System regulations. He is a member of the Wine and Spirit Board and oversees the activities of designated assignees.

He is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa. He holds a B-Tech degree in Agriculture from Tshwane University of Technology.  He also has a master’s degree in public administration and laws (LLM) in Consumer Protection Law from the University of Pretoria.

Bongiwe Ndhlovu

Tiger Brands, South Africa

Bongiwe Ndhlovu  is a dedicated and passionate food safety professional with  extensive background spanning over 12 years in the food manufacturing supply chain. In her current position as Group Food Safety Manager at Tiger Brands,  she oversees the strategic development and execution of comprehensive food safety programs and processes. As a dedicated food safety ambassador and a certified lead auditor, her expertise is not only in ensuring compliance but also in fostering a culture of food safety.

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Bongiwe obtained a MSC in Consumer Sciences from the University of South Africa in 2019. Her career trajectory has seen her excel in various capacities, from online quality control, laboratory testing, inspections & auditing, product development,  quality assurance and food safety management systems, culminating in her current position where she governs food safety initiatives and forms strong partnerships with external entities in the pursuit of the Food Safety agenda

Tiger Brands is one of Africa’s largest listed manufacturers of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). Our core business is the manufacture, marketing and distribution of everyday branded food and beverages. Our portfolio also includes leading brands in the home and personal care segments, and we have a growing presence in Africa. Our purpose is to nourish and nurture more lives every day. Our iconic brands are well-known in South Africa, and our products cater for every meal and occasion with consumer favourites that include brands like Koo, Fattis and Monis, Jungle Oats, All Gold, Purity, Oros and Tastic Rice as well as household favourites such as Ingrams and Doom.

Rika Kemp

Food Safety Consultant, South Africa

Rika Kemp has more than 30 years’ experience as a food safety advisor, training facilitator and trouble shooter in the wider food industry. Her career started at a Pork Abattoir where she quickly progressed to the Product Development Department that developed the “Like it lean” products amongst others. Rika’s strengths include making food safety principles simple by cutting the jargon and putting it in everyday terms and can thus effectively train food safety team members on GFSI benchmarked food safety standards and other food safety requirements. 

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Rika has a passion to train people including helping potential food safety auditors to get qualified up to lead auditors level and teaching the difficult to understand HACCP to all in such laymen terms that all can understand, and in Afrikaans vir die Noord Kaap. Because of her knowledge and in depth experience she can identify food safety risks and finds solutions to persistent problems which can have a major impact on brand integrity.

Rika has the ability to compile food safety managements systems and simplify HACCP studies so that they integrate with other business systems. She also trains senior management in the advantage of this integration. She does product and process development verification studies based on science.

Last but not least, as part of the passion for training, she mentors freshman and enhance skills of all involved in her daily work. As part of her commitment to the Food Industry she also serves on committees to develop SANS standards.

Frans van Heerden

Astral Foods, South Africa

Frans started his career with the Group 15 years ago when he joined Astral’s Internal Audit Department. He was subsequently appointed to different Financial Manager positions within the Group, and on 1 June 2017 promoted to COO of the Poultry Commercial Division: Central Region. On 1 November 2020, he was appointed as the Managing Director of the Group’s Poultry Commercial Division and effective 1 October 2021 to the Board as an Executive Director.

Najib Salim

RCL Foods, South Africa

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 19 years’ experience within the FMCG across the Food, beverage, cosmetics and packaging sectors.

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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.

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