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Project reports

A range of research project reports may be accessed here.

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Potential for Foodborne Transmission of COVID-19: Literature Review Update Version 7
5 May 2022

Dr Joanne Kingsbury, ESR, undertook the seventh comprehensive literature review, focusing on these research questions

  1. What is the latest information on the routes of transmission for COVID-19 (including anything that implicates food as a vehicle)?
  2. What is the international consensus on survival rates of SARS-CoV-2 in and on food products and packaging?
  3. What is international best practice for mitigation options to reduce transfer of COVID-19 from workers to food products, including risk management strategies when a worker is identified as being infected with SARS-CoV-2?
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Potential for foodborne transmission of SARS-CoV-19? - updated literature review
1 October 2021

Joanne Kingsbury and Rob Lake at ESR have been on constant watch for any evidence from overseas pointing to food as a transmission route for SARS-CoV-2.  They have just produced another comprehensive literature review.  It’s good news for NZ food producers…”still no evidence that food is a source or a transmission route for SARS-CoV-2 ". 

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Study of Campylobacter transmission on-farm
26 August 2021

This study aimed to provide a better understanding of on-farm sources for Campylobacter contamination of broiler flocks. The Centre/poultry industry collaboration, led by Dr Joanne Kingsbury, was structured into two workstreams. Phase 1 included a literature review, the development of a Campylobacter-specific metabarcoding method and a limit of detection (LOD) laboratory study. These three elements all informed the Phase 2 longitudinal broiler farm microbiological survey.


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ESR study assessing NZers' intake of nitrates from food and water
1 July 2021

This work was commissioned by the NZ Food Safety Science & Research Centre and co-funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and Fonterra. The study was conducted by Peter Cressey and Dr Belinda Cridge.

 A question and answer document on nitrates


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Growing food-safe watercress in Aotearoa (pdf and ppt presentation) – Unlocking Curious Minds project
1 June 2020

The Centre partnered with Plant & Food Research to apply to MBIE’s Unlocking Curious Minds Fund.

This document (link) provides a summary of knowledge that may be useful to the student as they investigate the watercress growing in their local environment and assess its safety. Watercress grows wild and continues to be the staple in households and marae of the Hauiti people in Uawa/Tolaga Bay, used on a regular basis in meals, and often collected by the local children as part of their training by community elders. The aim of this project is to increase school children’s knowledge and understanding of the importance of the local environment’s water quality for safe watercress production.

This powerpoint presentation (link) is another valuable education tool for teachers, students and the community.   

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Feasibility of a Food Safety Challenge Reference Collection
25 October 2019

Helping members (and the wider food industry) prevent food spoilage is a research priority for the Centre. It commissioned an ESR project to see if the microorganisms used currently for ‘challenge testing’ could form a national reference culture collection for use by the NZ food industry. It was conducted by Drs Jan Powell, Beverley Horn, and Joanne Kingsbury, and reviewed by Dr Rob Lake, ESR.

If you, as an industry stakeholder, want to learn more or get involved in the potential establishment of reference strain collection, please contact the Centre or Dr Powell at

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Applying genomics for the management of food safety risks associated with Listeria spp. WS1: ‘Stakeholder Perceptions’
1 January 2019

This report details the interest of different sectors in the food industry in the proposed Listeria spp. based research project and highlights perceived potential pitfalls or drawbacks that food companies and regulatory authorities see in the project and how these may be mitigated.

WS1 Science Leaders: Prof Phil Bremer and Dr Miranda Mirosa, University of Otago.

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Dynamic scanning for emerging food safety risks and opportunities for the food industry
1 July 2018

Dynamic scanning for emerging food safety risks and opportunities for the food industry:
Learning from established horizon scanning systems and proposing a way forward for New Zealand

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Mapping New Zealand's Food Safety Capability
19 December 2017

The Centre has mapped New Zealand’s capability, resources and research projects on food safety. A searchable database is now available  here  containing information for over 400 individuals, 18 organisations, 214 individual facilities, and more than 400 projects related to national food safety science and research.

A summary of the objectives and key findings of the Capability Mapping Project are available to view in storyboard format below.

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Antimicrobial resistant bacteria in dairy cattle: A review
1 January 2017

Dr Sara Burgess and Professor Nigel French

Although agricultural use from high antimicrobial use sectors, such as pigs and poultry, contributes to the emergence of antibiotic resistant strains (and transmission via food does occur), current evidence indicates that human use is believed to be the main driver for emergence and persistence of AMR in humans. But despite New Zealand having a low use of antimicrobials in food producing animals compared with other developed countries, there is room for improvement