Significant Contribution to Food Safety Award

The Significant Contribution to Food Safety award recognises a person or group that has made an improvement to food safety in New Zealand. Nominations for 2019 are now open until 23 May 2019. Read on to find out how to nominate.

About the award

Sponsored by New Zealand Food Safety, the Significant Contribution to Food Safety Award recognises an individual, team, or organisation that has made a significant improvement to food safety in New Zealand. This could include developing or improving a food safety process or operation. It oculd be in one sector, or across a few sectors. 

We're interested in improvements in any of the following areas:

  • science and research
  • equipment or processing technology
  • product or packaging development
  • industry best practice
  • building and maintaining a food safety culture (such as staff engagement processes and practices, education or training).

The winner will receive a trophy, travel to the awards dinner, accommodation, and a 12-month membership to the New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology (NZIFST).

The award is presented at the NZIFST awards dinner.

2019 round open

Nominations for 2019 are open until 5pm on 23 May 2019. A panel of staff from MPI and NZIFST assess the nominations.

The winner will be announced on 3 July 2019.

Make a nomination

There are 3 ways to nominate an individual, team, organisation, or yourself.

You can complete and submit this online form

Or, you can complete and attach the nomination form and email it to

Or, you can answer these questions and email these to

  • Who is being nominated? (up to 200 words)
  • What are their contact details? (up to 200 words)
  • What field are they involved in? (up to 200 words)
  • How long have they been involved in that field?(up to 200 words)
  • What have they achieved, and why it should be considered 'significant' or 'outstanding'? (up to 200 words)
  • What is original or creative about the achievement? (up to 200 words)
  • How effective is the achievement, and why? (up to 200 words)
  • What impact has the achievement had on people, process(es) and/or the food sector? (up to 200 words)

There's a word limit of 200 words for each answer submitted.

You can email other documentation and relevant letters of endorsement to support the nomination to

Previous winners of the award

2018: Nigel French

Distinguished Professor Nigel French is a world expert in food safety, infectious diseases, and veterinary public health. The title of 'Distinguished Professor' – awarded by Massey University – recognises achievement of international importance. Nigel's leadership has impacted on the whole food safety and science research system in New Zealand.

He is an international authority on Campylobacter and contributed to a 50% reduction in human Campylobacter infections in New Zealand through improvements in the poultry supply.

2017 (inaugural award): Lesley Rhodes

Dr Rhodes has worked extensively in seafood safety, especially with shellfish – specialising in harmful algae. Lesley has led the Cawthron Institute's Safe New Zealand Seafood programme and was responsible for establishing food safety monitoring programmes to ensure New Zealand seafood meets international standards. 

Lesley's monitoring programmes have saved industry from large losses, and recreational fishers are now able to avoid areas with toxic algae.

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