Marjon Wells-Bennik

Principal Scientist Food Safety

Contaminants in foods can compromise food safety, and thereby our health. This can be due to a  broad array of chemical or microbial compounds in the food chain, and new challenges may arise due to changes in farming practices, food processing, product formulations, or the use of different resources. An interest in hazards in the food chain has been at the center of my career. My broad expertise and background in food safety and quality was shaped by my MSc and PhD research at Wageningen University, Postdoc at Harvard University, and work experience at three different food research institutes.

As a Principle Scientist Food Safety at NIZO, I work on preventing and solving food safety and quality issues. By staying at the forefront of science, new risks can be identified at an early stage and knowledge on contaminants translated to practical solutions. My main focus is on the control of undesirable bacteria in foods, which show an enormous diversity and cause foodborne illness or spoilage. Ultimately, effective solutions to protect safety and quality require knowledge about the food ingredients and their sources, the contaminants, the manufacturing process, and food  properties. I enjoy achieving this with my colleagues, using multidisciplinary approaches which range from trouble shooting activities, challenge testing, process validations, microbial and chemical risk assessments, to in-depth genomics analysis of microbial diversity to detect problem-causing bacteria.

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