Food safety and cleaning optimisation behaviours in the food industry: development and evaluation of an intervention package (PhD Scholarship)

Food safety and cleaning optimisation behaviours in the food industry: development and evaluation of an intervention package.

Cardiff Metropolitan University

Project ID: CMK231
Annual Stipend: £14,340
Application Deadline: 24 August 2018

Project Team:

Dr Elizabeth Redmond, Food Industry Centre, Senior Research Fellow (Academic Lead Supervisor)

Dr Ellen Evans, Food Industry Centre, Junior Research Fellow (Academic Supervisor)

Kay Tonkin, The Authentic Curry Company, Technical Manager (Company Project Supervisor)

Professor John Holah, Technical Director, Holchem & Honorary Professor of Food Safety at Cardiff Metropolitan University (Technical Advisor)

Mrs Helen Taylor, Food Industry Centre, Technical Director (Technical Adviser)

Mr David Owens, Food Industry Centre, Process Development Technologist (Technical Advisor)

Project Outline:

The ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre (FIC) is an internationally recognised centre for food safety research and is a partner in Food Innovation Wales with substantial links to the Welsh food industry with long-term projects funded by the Welsh Government and European Union. The Authentic Curry Company Ltd., is a food manufacturing company that supplies a wide range of ready meals (ready-to-heat) to major retailers, local authorities and food service outlets across Wales. This is a 3-year research post, based within the ‘FIC Food Safety Research Group’, provides an exciting opportunity to achieve a PhD and obtain invaluable industry experience working with a successful food manufacturer.

Application Deadline:  24th August 2018

Project aim:

To develop a hygiene optimisation package for The Authentic Curry Company Ltd. to reduce water usage and associated cleaning costs whilst maintaining or increasing food safety for allergens and microbiological risks.

Project background and outline:

Implementation of effective cleaning in the food industry is critical to ensure removal of microbial contaminants and allergens from surfaces and equipment to prevent cross-contamination or re-contamination of foods. The action of cleaning features heavily in food safety certification schemes to help to ensure the production of safe legal foods. However, the process of cleaning food production areas can be a large additional cost for food manufacturers in terms of water, chemical usage and time. To ensure cleaning in the food production environment is effective and efficient, implementation of optimal practices, approaches and methods are needed. Cognitive research, structured using concepts defined by food safety culture, is required to explore potential factors that influence cleaning optimisation behaviours and identification of the potential barriers that exist for staff to adequately implement required practices. This, combined with observed cleaning behaviours can be used to inform development of a bespoke training package with mechanisms and interventions tailored to specific company needs. Cumulatively, this study will focus upon a novel assessment of food safety behaviours and associated influences in ‘The Authentic Curry Company Ltd’, in conjunction with assessment of water/chemical usage and microbiological risks to ensure optimal cleaning. Tailored company data will inform the development, implementation and evaluation of a bespoke hygiene optimisation package including specific interventions.

Roles and responsibilities

Working with academics and project advisers, the appointed student will be responsible for:

  • Undertaking academic literature reviews and review of company documentation
  • Microbiological/environmental sampling and baseline assessments of cleaning practices and surface contamination
  • Assessment of food safety behaviours and cognitive influences related to cleaning optimisation and food safety culture using research methods such as direct observation, survey techniques and focus groups
  • Design, development and evaluation of a bespoke, cleaning optimisation training package with tailored interventions
  • Implementation and evaluation of the developed training package
  • Publishing and presentation of study findings in peer-reviewed literature and at scientific conferences

Candidate requirements:

  • Applicants must have a good undergraduate degree in food science / technology, microbiology, environmental health or closely related area. Awareness of concepts related to food safety culture is desirable but not essential.
  • The project will involve working in food manufacturing / processing sites so there is a need for candidates to be familiar with food industry processes, food safety and quality management systems and industry relevant food safety / hygiene training courses and approaches.
  • Food industry experience would be desirable.
  • As the project will be split between the Food Industry Centre and The Authentic Curry Company Ltd (Hirwaun), it is also important that the candidate has a current driving licence.
  • Knowledge and experience of research approaches is desirable.
  • It is essential that the candidate display a good level of both verbal and written communication skills.
  • Candidates will be required to be motivated and able to work independently as well as collaborate, interact and work with employees from management/supervisory roles as well as factory floor workers/food handlers.

To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants should have UK or EU Citizenship, and be resident in the convergence area of Wales on appointment (or be studying in or working in the convergence area immediately prior to starting the project) and should have the right to work in the region on qualification. Residence confirmed by providing documents such as driver’s licence, tenancy agreement or recent statement from bank or building society.

The map for the eligible can be​ found here​.  NB: The map also illustrates other assisted areas in the UK, however only the West Wales and the Valleys (in blue/grey:  noted as ‘a’ areas) is eligible in this project.

To obtain an application form (Participant Application Form) and for further information regarding KESS2 at Cardiff Metropolitan, Please click here

To apply, please submit completed application form to Dr Elizabeth Redmond:

Interviews for this post will take place at the of August, with a proposed commencement date of 24th September 2018.

Funding Notes:

Supported by Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships 2 (KESS2) which is an All Wales higher level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.