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Microbiological testing: what food businesses need to know

Microbiological testing: what food businesses need to know

A safefood Knowledge Network webinar in partnership with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland

Date: 9 June 2022

Time: 10 am

This event aims to equip small food businesses with the knowledge they need to decide on the tests that are required for their specific food product, as well as how to understand what the results mean and what actions they might need to take.

The webinar will help food businesses to:

  • Understand when you may need to undertake microbiological testing of your food product
  • Recognise why it's important to know the components of your food product when deciding what tests to do
  • Know how to take samples of your food product for microbiological testing correctly
  • Understand what microbiological test results mean
  • Know how to read a laboratory report
  • Know what follow up actions may be required

The webinar will be presented by Dr Lisa O’Connor (FSAI), Dr Mary Lenahan (FSAI) and Ms Una McCormack (Advanced Laboratory Testing MERIEUX NutriSciences).

Dr Lisa O’ Connor has been working with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) for over 20 years. She currently leads the Biological Safety team responsible for, producing guidance on microbial food safety issues, conducting microbial risk assessments, and providing scientific support to the FSAI’s Biological Safety Sub-committee. She is a member of the European Food Safety Authority’s Network on Zoonoses Monitoring Data and its Network on Microbial Risk Assessment and has contributed to the development of EU legislation on Microbiological Criteria and Food Hygiene. Her academic background includes a BSc in Food Microbiology from University College Cork, where she attained her PhD in Molecular Biology.

Dr Mary Lenahan has been working with the Biological Safety team in the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) for over 7 years. In her current role as a Technical Executive, she provides technical support and guidance to food businesses and official agency staff regarding microbiological issues such as food legislation, shelf-life of foods and risk assessment of microbiological hazards. Her previous experience includes working with both the private and public sector on various research projects concerning food safety and sales to microbiology labs in the Irish food and veterinary industry. Mary has a BSc in Nutritional Sciences from University College Cork and a PhD in Microbiological Food Safety attained from the University College Dublin in association with the Teagasc Food Research Centre (Ashtown).

Una McCormack who has been a Technical Consultant with ALT / Merieux since 2018. Previously employed for 10 years with Enva Micro Laboratory in Cork as a Technical Consultant and Sales. Prior to Enva Una worked for Dairygold for 18 years in the Milk and Dairy product testing Laboratory. In 2019, ALT were acquired by Merieux NutriSciences with the full integration phase completed in 2022, Merieux NutriSciences has more than 100 Laboratories worldwide. In Una’s role as Technical Consultant with ALT / Merieux she provides customer support on Microbiological testing of products and result interpretation when necessary. Una is based in the support office and depot in Cork, liaising with the ALT/ Merieux Laboratories in Newbridge Co. Kildare providing testing services for Food and Water Microbiology, Food Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry with extensive range of supporting testing services with Merieux partner Laboratories.


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