Following our recent presentation of the annual Musgrave Award to a UCC student in the School of Microbiology, Ray Bowe, our Head of Food Safety and Quality, talks about the importance of innovative research into food production and consumption, and the success of our partnership with UCC.
There’s literally nothing more important to our business than ensuring the safety of the food that ends its journey on the tables of many homes in Ireland and beyond.
Our retail and foodservice brands feed one in three people every day. At Musgrave, we work with thousands of local Irish suppliers who rear, grow, cook and produce a whole range of products that shoppers enjoy. Shoppers certainly want food that’s delicious, inspiring and value for money but they also have a right to expect that food associated with our brands has been produced to the highest possible standards and is always safe to eat.
So from both a personal perspective and a business perspective I’m passionate about supporting research undertaken by the teams at UCC – in the application of science to ensure that the food we eat is safer, more sustainably produced and better for us. Food research is always evolving and it’s our business to support those researchers that are keeping ahead of the curve.
This is why I’m proud of the close links through this Award that we continue to have with the University College Cork’s renowned School of Microbiology since 2017. We were also delighted to recently host the third annual UCC-Musgrave Guest Lecture on Food Integrity in conjunction with Cork University Business School and Teagasc. Further links include our sponsorship of a new Module this year within the Masters in Supply Chain Programme in Food Integrity / Food Fraud within CUBS. This new module will be delivered by world renowned Prof John Spink of Michigan State University who already worked with Musgrave on our Food Integrity Programmes.
We’re also committed to hiring the best and the brightest to underpin our commitment to food leadership in Ireland. Every year we welcome an intake of students on placement programmes. In fact many members of our Food Safety and Quality team are UCC alumni – including me.
We were recently pleased to honour a UCC student with the Musgrave Award for Excellence in Food Microbiology for his work and research on yeast and moulds and their important impact on food product stability.
Reuben O’Hea topped the class as the highest performing student in UCC’s Masters in Food Microbiology and received the award from our Food Safety and Quality Manager Lucy O’Connor.
The focus of his project was to isolate, identify and characterise yeast and mould isolates, as well as evaluating the measures that can be used to control them, with the aim of improving overall shelf life and the flavour profiling of the finished product. This is not just important work from a commercial perspective, but also has significant implications for reducing food waste.
The leading-edge microbiological research conducted by the Food Microbiology research teams at UCC has been recognised globally for many years and we are delighted to continue honouring this endeavour into the future.