Leading biochemist to shape global food safety strategy

26 February 2013

Professor Kofi Aidoo

Professor Kofi Aidoo

Professor Kofi Aidoo has been appointed to sit on the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), the international scientific expert advisory board administered by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation.

The influential body has been meeting since 1956 to evaluate the safety of food additives and its work now also includes the evaluation of contaminants, naturally occurring toxicants and residues of veterinary drugs in food.

JECFA’s membership is made up of the world’s top scientists and microbiologists, whose recommendations on food additive contamination safety standards form the basis for regulations set by governments around the globe.

Professor Aidoo’s four-year appointment to JECFA will bring a raft of benefits to students at GCU as well as helping to enhance food safety standards internationally.

He said: “I am honoured to be asked to join this prestigious committee. Through my JECFA work, GCU students will be exposed to international perspectives for microbiological standards. They will benefit from my first-hand experience of working with the FAO/WHO committee and will be among the first to know about the big issues in food safety.
“I have always ensured that our students are exposed to real-life situations in our lab and teaching facility, which is the only UKAS facility in a University of its type in Britain. We can’t live without food but, as much as it provides nourishment and what we need for growth, there are major issues surrounding food which lead to serious health issues such as food poisoning and food-borne diseases.”
Professor Aidoo, of the Department of Health and Life Sciences,  is no stranger to the international stage. He has been invited to attend and speak at meetings and conferences across Europe, North America and Canada. He contributed to a European food safety project and, most recently, collaborated with colleagues in Australia, China, Africa, Mexico, the US and Brazil to investigate the transfer of micro organisms from bank notes to the food chain. 

Professor Aidoo, has worked at GCU for 20 years, and at its founder institution, the Queen’s College, Glasgow, for six years before that. His interest in food safety, particularly in respect to fungi, poisons or toxins in food, stemmed from his work as a PhD student at Strathclyde University in mid 1970s.

GCU’s food research lab is recognised by UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service), the only national accreditation body recognised by government to assess, against internationally agreed standards, organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services.