Chair of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) Heather Hancock has announced the appointment of Professor Bill Keevil as independent chair to the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF).

Advice from the ACMSF  is used to inform the FSA’s policy decisions and consumer advice. The committee’s current work includes providing advice to the FSA on the risks to humans from foodborne transmission of antimicrobial-resistant microorganisms (AMR) and informing the FSA’s approach to risk analysis when we leave the EU.

A Professor of Environmental Healthcare, Professor Bill Keevil is Head of the Microbiology Group, School of Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, Royal Society of Biology and Royal Society for Public Health; and Member of the Microbiology Society, Society for Applied Microbiology and American Society for Microbiology. He was awarded the Colgate Prize in 1985 for his work on sugar uptake and metabolism by dental plaque bacteria and has published over 230 peer-reviewed papers.

Heather Hancock said:  “Our priority as the UK prepares to leave the EU is to ensure there remains a robust and effective regulatory regime for maintaining the safety of food for the benefit of UK consumers. The work of the ACMSF in providing independent, expert risk assessment advice on the microbiological safety of food will be critical to delivering effective consumer protection in relation to food.

“’m delighted we have secured Professor Bill Keevil as chair of this committee. His high standing in the science community reinforces the importance of the committee in protecting public health.”

Professor Bill Keevil said:  “I’m looking forward to taking up this role and working with the committee members to continue their important work. It’s vital that the FSA have a strong evidence base to support their advice and decisions, and the work of the ACMSF will contribute to that.”

Keevil is a former head of the Physiology and Biofilms Section, Public Health Laboratory Service, Porton Down, Salisbury and Former Head of the Microbial Technology Department, Microbiology Research Authority CAMR, Porton Down Salisbury. His previous public appointments include being a Member of the MOD Independent Scientific and Technical Advice Register and a former Expert Advisor to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee (2003 – 2005).

The chair is appointed for an initial term of two years, with the possibility of reappointment.