Our Allergen Bureau Directors provide voluntary, unpaid services to the Allergen Bureau and we gratefully acknowledge the generous support they receive from their employer companies in this capacity.
Kirsten Grinter (Nestlé Australia) – Allergen Bureau President
Kirsten Grinter has several years’ experience working in Dairy (Unilever, Streets Ice Cream Division), Fats and Oils (Goodman Fielder, Meadow Lea Foods) and Cereals and Snacks (Uncle Tobys) industries both in Australia and New Zealand. Kirsten has worked in Product Development, Quality, Manufacturing, Research and Regulatory departments. Her current role is as Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Manager Nestlé where she has responsibility for a team of people who together manage regulatory and scientific affairs across the vast Oceania Business.
Kirsten represents Nestlé on the Australian Food and Grocery Council’s (AFGC) Health Nutrition and Scientific Affairs Committee and takes part in many AFGC food industry working groups to drive solutions in the pre-competitive industry arena.
Kirsten has been involved with the Allergen Forum at its inception and has retained a significant interest in driving through industry allergen initiatives. Kirsten was the chairperson of the Allergen Labelling project team, initiated in 2004 which surveyed the food industry approach to allergen labelling and used this information to develop an industry allergen labelling strategy. The project team developed a preferred allergen labelling format that is applicable to all industry sectors. The project was instigated by the Allergen Forum to drive allergen declaration consistency across all product labels. A consistent effort by industry will result in product labels that are easier to read as well as to identify the allergen information required by the allergic consumers. Another allergen labelling survey was completed in 2009 to track and monitor compliance to the AFGC Allergen Management and Labelling Guide.
Kirsten’s experience with allergen issues from manufacturing, regulation and through to contact with consumer groups gives her a unique perspective with regard to the needs of the food industry and the allergic community.
Kirsten considers that working in partnership for a whole of industry approach is the key to driving allergen management initiatives and key for the industry to remain a competitive and successful food industry globally.
Caroline Gray (Danisco-DuPont) – Allergen Bureau Vice-President
Caroline holds the position of Regulatory Affairs Manager ANZ/SEA for DuPont Nutrition and Health. Caroline’s affinity for the food industry began in dairy quite some years ago in a role with the small but thriving Tatua Dairy Cooperative in Morrinsville. Following that, moving to Auckland, Caroline took up a role with the Danish food ingredients company Danisco Ltd which was acquired by DuPont Ltd in 2011, her current employer. Caroline has held positions in Technical Marketing, Quality, Product Services, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs, all of which have touched the sensitive realms of allergen management in its various forms.
In the early days of the Allergen Forum, Caroline participated in VITAL and PIF Working Groups and later moved into the Allergen Bureau Allergen Exemption working group to help secure the 2016 change to STD 1.2.3 of the ANZ Food Standard Code.
Caroline brings a global ingredient manufacturers perspective to the Allergen Bureau Board. She Chairs the DuPont Allergen Network delivering a globally coordinated approach to allergen management in a complex manufacturing environment.
Debbie Hawkes (Hawkins Watts) – Allergen Bureau Honorary Treasurer
Debbie has a Food Technology degree from Massey University and has been working in the Food Industry for over 25 years. She has worked in New Zealand based roles, covering Product Development, Quality, Purchasing and Operations, for Tip Top Ice Cream, Tasti and Danisco / Dupont. These roles have included responsibilities in ANZ, ASPAC regional and global markets.
Debbie’s current role is General Manager – Operations and Quality ANZ, for Hawkins Watts. The Hawkins Watts Group represents many of the world’s leading ingredient companies with a broad product portfolio specialising in Hydrocolloids, Colours, Flavours, Emulsifiers, Fortificants and more. Debbie and the Hawkins Watts Team ensure the Food Safety, Quality and Operational requirements of providing ANZ food manufacturers with a complex variety of food ingredients.
Debbie has had a long involvement with the Allergen Bureau, both through her previous work at Dansico / Dupont (as they were an Allergen Bureau founding member company), and currently with Hawkins Watts. She was involved with the first Allergen Bureau Industry pilot working group in 2006, when the “VITAL” name was first suggested. Debbie applied her Excel skills to translate the VITAL process into the very first version of the VITAL calculator!
More recently Debbie joined the VITAL Phase 2 – Risk Communication (Labelling) Working Group to help produce the VITAL® Best Practise Labelling Guide for Australia & New Zealand.
Debbie is a current Fellow of NZIFST.
Debbie has been very impressed by the achievements of the core Allergen Bureau team over the last decade and is keen to support ongoing initiatives to further progress this very valuable work.
Karen Robinson (Invited Director) – Honorary Secretary & Company Secretary
Karen is the Quality and Food Safety Senior Manager ANZ, PepsiCo Australia & New Zealand.
From 2008 to 2016, Karen held the position of National Quality Manager for McDonald’s ANZ, where she was responsible for the quality management of products and services, management of a team of QA Managers, and for supplier management as well as quality management of restaurant operations. Prior to joining McDonald’s, Karen worked with Goodman Fielder for 12 years. Initially joining the company as the Production Manager where she held a number of production and quality management roles. In 2000, Karen took a role at the Goodman Fielder head office at North Ryde in the Outsourced Manufacturing department. In this role, Karen was responsible for the quality management of product that was imported as well as product that was manufactured at third party manufacturing facilities both in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. This role also involved conducting audits of each manufacturer both in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Thailand. In 2005 Karen was promoted into the role of National Quality Manager in the Goodman Fielder Commercial division. In this role Karen was responsible for the quality management of the commercial manufacturing sites across Australia and New Zealand.
Other roles Karen has held within the food industry were as a Brewer at Tooheys Limited part of the Lion Nathan Group as well as Smiths Snack Foods in a Production Management role.
David Henning (Invited Director)
David is currently an Invited Director of the Allergen Bureau.
David has over 30 years experience in the food industry including senior roles in Research and Development, quality assurance, production management and food regulation within the areas of cheese processing, meat and smallgoods production, dry mixing, baking and confectionery.
David has been involved in quality assurance and food safety systems in a wide variety of businesses, from SME’s to large corporations through to the retailing of fresh foods and packaged goods and has been a member of many industry working groups on food safety and related matters, assisting industry and government in a number of food/allergen product issues, including recall management.
David has been a member of the Allergen Bureau’s Management Committee prior to its incorporation and continues to play an active role in the globalisation of VITAL.
David holds a Masters of Applied Science (Food Science and Nutrition) from UWS.