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Our Auditors/Verifiers

Shane HopgoodShane_photo_for_website_2.JPG

  • Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Microbiology
  • Advanced Course in Food Microbiology, University of Surrey
  • Professional member of New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology (MNZIFST)
  • 25+ years in food safety and quality
  • IANZ Technical Expert in the field of Microbiology Testing, and Food Safety Programme auditing
  • International consultant for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Food Hygiene, HACCP and Good Manufacturing Practices

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Helen McDonaldHelen__picture.JPG

  • New Zealand Certificate in Food Science (NZCS)
  • Professional member of New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology (MNZIFST)
  • 25+ years in food safety and quality
  • Extensive food safety progamme auditing experience
  • Wine Standards Management Plan (WSMP) verification experience
  • IANZ Technical Expert for Food Safety Programme auditing

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Gavin JacobsonGJ_AFS_Profile_Pic_120913.jpg

  • Bachelor of Science (Chemistry)
  • Master of Professional Studies in Food Safety (University of Auckland)
  • 20+ years working in the food and chemical industries in New Zealand
  • Experience in Quality Control, Quality Assurance, Laboratory Management, Production Management, Technical Management, Sales and Sales Management, and Business Management
  • Specialist experience and expertise with Food Safety Programmes, Cleaning and Sanitising Chemicals, Plant Hygiene Programmes, and Food Ingredients
  • Experience developing and managing Food Safety Programmes
  • Professional member of the New Zealand Institute of
    Food Science and Technology (MNZIFST)

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Karen WhittingtonKaren_photo_12_2015.JPG

  • National Diploma in Science
  • 25+ years in food safety
  • Experience in developing and managing Food Safety Programmes and Risk Management Programmes
  • Microbiological Laboratory Experience

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Alicia Pratt


  • Bachelor of Technology - Food Science
  • 15+ years in food safety and quality
  • Practical experience in New Zealand food manufacturing and retialing businesses
  • RABQSA lead audior
  • Technical expert for JASANZ in the field of food safety/quality systems assessment
  • Experience with customer standards such as BRC, Coles

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More about Shane

Shane brings more than 25 years of experience in the food safety and quality arena, both locally and internationally, with a background as a food laboratory microbiologist, national food safety manager, food quality consultant, trainer and regulatory auditor.

During his career Shane has worked for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), its successor AgriQuality, and Woolworths New Zealand Ltd.

He is a professional member of the New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology (NZIFST), a member of the Inspection Body Professional Advisory Committee for International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ), and a technical expert for IANZ in the fields of Food Safety Programme Auditing, and Microbiology (Dairy, Meat, Food and Water testing).

In his role as a regulatory auditor, Shane has developed a strong reputation for a technically robust, business appropriate auditing style, that adds value to businesses. He has been a Director of Assured Audits for more than 15 years, and has widespread industry networks across New Zealand.

Through his consultancy company Assured Food Safety Ltd, Shane has developed more than 50 food safety management systems (Food Safety Programmes/Risk Management Programmes) that have been registered with the Ministry for Primary Industries (formerly MAF/NZFSA), and as such has a detailed understanding of practical approaches to compliance that meet regulatory requirements, and that actually work.

One of Shane's other passions is as a coach, facilitator and trainer, and he has developed and presented a large number of customised food safety related training courses and workshops, to many food businesses – including those in horticulture, primary and secondary food processing, foodservice and retail.

In addition to working locally Shane contracted to the Food and Agriculture Organization (the UN Food Agency) from 2008 - 2012, as an International Consultant on Food Hygiene, HACCP and Good Manufacturing Practices. During that time he has provided training and consultancy services in Laos, Cambodia and Tanzania.  More recently he has been involved in developing and presenting Food Labelling and Shelf Life, Good Hygienic Practices (Foodservice Sector) and Good Manufacturing Practices training workshops with the Mekong Institute (Thailand) under the New Zealand Aid funded Prosafe Programme.

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More about Helen

Helen's career in food safety and quality management systems has spanned 30 years in the food industry, with a background as a dairy laboratory technician and manager, food and dairy laboratory management systems auditor, food quality consultant, food safety and quality system trainer, and food safety technical auditor.

Helen has worked for New Zealand Co-operative Dairy Company (NZCDC), International Accreditation of New Zealand (IANZ) and MAF Quality Management/AgriQuality NZ Ltd.

In her role as a regulatory auditor, Helen has developed a strong reputation for a technically robust, business appropriate auditing style, that adds value to businesses.
She has been operating Assured Audits since 2002, and has good industry networks,  particularly in the Nelson Marlborough region where she is based.

Helen is a professional member of the New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology (NZIFST), and a technical expert for IANZ in the field of Food Safety Programme Auditing.

Over the past 15 years Helen has also operated Food Linkz Ltd, providing independent and practical food safety consultancy and training assistance across a wide range of food businesses and operations throughout New Zealand. Helen's pragmatic approach to developing food safety programmes and support training that reflects food operations and food safety controls, has provided a workable pathway for food businesses to meet Ministry for Primary Industries (formerly NZFSA/MAF) food safety programme and risk management programme approval requirements.

Helen has also provided food safety, quality system and training assistance to support export food business's food handling processes managed through other food safety systems such as Regulated Control Schemes (RCS), BRC, NZGAP and GlobalGAP.

Food businesses that have benefited from Helen's assistance operate in the horticulture (including hydroponics and aquaponics), food manufacturing and processing, food retail, food service/ hospitality, airline catering, food transport, storage and distribution sectors.

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More about Gavin

Gavin brings a wealth of technical and commercial experience to the team. He has been "hands on" as a production manager, as well as working with some of New Zealand's largest food producers assisting with cleaning and sanitising chemicals, and hygiene programmes. In addition he has managed one of New Zealand's largest food ingredient importers and has experience with import requirements, supplier assessments and selling food ingredients. As a Sales Manager Gavin has managed several very large project implementations and is an experienced coach, trainer and facilitator.

As well as working with Assured Audits NZ Ltd, Gavin also contracts to Assured Food Safety Ltd, currently manages food safety and WQA programmes for a well established food company, and previously taught two postgraduate Food Safety papers at the University of Auckland.

Past roles

  • National Sales Manager
  • Country Manager, Bronson & Jacobs
  • Multiple sales and product management roles
  • Business Development Technologist (Surfactants & Biocides)
  • Production Manager – Le Snak
  • Laboratory Supervisor

Past employers

  • Orica Chemicals New Zealand
  • Bronson & Jacobs New Zealand (part of Orica)
  • Bluebird Foods
  • Weddel Crown Westfield

Memberships & affiliations

  • Professional Member of New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology (NZIFST)

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More about Karen

  • During her career Karen has gained vast experience in food safety, with a background in the development and management of Food Safety Programmes and Risk Management Programmes, and working in microbiological laboratories. Also she has experience in Quality Management which included the implementation of an ISO 9000 series Quality Management System.
  • Her roles have included auditor, consultant, compliance technologist, microbiology laboratory manager and quality assurance management.
  • Whilst in these roles Karen has gained a thorough experience in auditing, managing microbiological testing programmes, developing and improving processes to ensure food safety requirements are met, and has gained a strong knowledge of food preservation by vacuum packaging, modified atmosphere, chilling, freezing, brining, smoking, and marinating.
  • She has also trained and assessed NZQA unit standards for food handlers

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More about Alicia

Alicia has 16 years' experience in the food industry having worked in and with a wide variety of food sectors.  Her strengths are with high risk products and ready to eat foods. 

Alicia has a strong auditing, food safety and quality background, including food safety and quality management experience in some of New Zealand’s largest manufacturers and retailers.  She has implemented new food safety programmes on a multi-site level, and cost saving measures for large companies with complicated microbiological testing plans. 

Alicia’s approach is professional and with an intention of adding value to a client's organisation, whilst verifying the required level of compliance; a focus on systematic, independent audits of client management systems to confirm compliance; identifying strengths in programmes, and areas for improvement.

Qualifications and Experience

  • Bachelor of Technology - Food Science (Massey University)
  • MPI Approved FSP Auditor
  • WSMP Verifier
  • RABQSA Lead Auditor
  • WQA approved Auditor
  • JASANZ Technical expert and trainee assessor
  • ISO 9001, ISO 22000:2005, FSSC.

Past Employers

  • Food Safety Auditor, Eurofins
  • Goodmanfielder Irvines Quality Manager
  • Foodstuffs Auckland Ltd Food Safety Manager
  • Food Safety Auditor, AgriQuality
  • Food Microbiologist, AgriQuality

Alicia values a fair and honest approach in her work ethic, and making every aspect of her work and those she works with enjoyable.

Additional expertise in:  BRC, Coles training and implementation of related programmes, VITAL 2.0

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As you would expect we have robust arrangements in place to prevent any conflict of interest between our auditing/verification services, and other services that we provide though our aligned businesses.

In addition we manage the conflicts of interest relating to evaluation and verification of custom Food Control Plans.  For example, the evaluator assigned to your business is not able to verify your programme for a stand down period of at least 2 years.  In practice we will assign a verifier that has not been involved in evaluating your custom Food Control Plan.