Denver McGregor, New Zealand King Salmon, receives top food safety accolade


The Centre warmly congratulates Denver McGregor, well-deserved recipient of MPI’s New Zealand Food Safety “Significant Contribution to Food Safety Award”.  Denver’s absolute commitment to hunting down Listeria – including crawling under drains - and throwing every tool modern science can apply to its eradication, has been fully supported by his employer, New Zealand King Salmon, the world’s largest producer of King salmon.  In 2018/9 he travelled extensively overseas to learn how other companies manage food safety challenges, especially Listeria.    

Denver was one of the first to latch on to the potential of whole genome sequencing.  “It’s not cheap, but we want to learn as much as we can about Listeria, and really pin down its source and movement,” says Denver, who says he sometimes muses in the night on what the purpose of this determined life form is.”  He says that when you fight it, it fights back, forming biofilms and hiding out in hard to reach corners.  Denver is particularly interested in using genome sequence analysis to determine what sanitisers are going to work best.
 
Beginning working life as a building apprentice, when demand in the South Island dried up in the late 80s (“the past is a different country”), Denver ended up as a general hand at Sanford in Nelson.  He gradually became fully absorbed by the industry, and was given the opportunity to learn all aspects of it.  After 30 years, he is now General Manager of Food Safety & Quality at New Zealand King Salmon. 
 

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