[Sound of pouring water] The Risk and Response Group [of ESR] is a
collection of consultants who are able to give expert advice on risks associated with
New Zealand in the environment of food or water. My expertise is in the chemistry environment, in particular chemical contaminants in food,
that may be pesticides or heavy metals, and the risks that that might pose on you as consumers. We perform tests on foods for
import and export certification. Import and export is a huge
industry for New Zealand. If we can’t get our safe food across different markets and
be sold, New Zealand can’t be profitable, and that’s where ESR can help by
helping provide safe food. At the moment, I’m project leader for the
New Zealand Total Diet Study, which is funded by MPI. This study is based on foods that
can be commercially bought from supermarkets. Those are purchased and prepared as
you would do at home, cooked, fried, peeled, etc. And then
they’re analysed for chemical contaminants like pesticides and heavy metals, and
some nutrients that are required by the body like fluoride.
Consumer expectations in food safety is incredibly high and I think with the increased mobility
of food around the world there is much more need to collaborate with those producers overseas
– the importers and the exporters. That brings together scientists from all over the world, but also from the different disciplines of science. I work closely with colleagues at MPI, but also in the commercial industry with food
producers to understand their needs and testing requirements.
We have to constantly talk to each other. So, yeah, once you’re in a science career
it’s easy to move around.