Professor John O’Brien is Founder and Director of The Food Observatory, UK. A former CEO of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and a former Deputy Head of the Nestle Research Centre in Switzerland, his experience spans the international food industry from senior technical leadership positions in Groupe Danone (France) and Nestle (Switzerland) to various consultancy and advisory projects in Ireland, Europe, Japan and USA.
O’Brien is a well-known thought leader and educator in food safety, food technology and nutrition and was the founding editor of the leading journal Trends in Food Science & Technology. He sits on the Editorial Boards of several other journals including Italian Journal of Food Science, Human & Experimental Toxicology and Heliyon. He sees innovation as a duty especially as businesses and consumers alike are confronted more than ever with the health-time-environment nexus
O’Brien holds/has held non-executive directorships of several technical organisations including ILSI (Washington), IFSH (Chicago), ILSI Europe (Brussels, as Chair), and Campden BRI (UK). He currently serves as a member of the Science Council of the Food Standards Agency (London), where he chairs the Working Group on Global Food System Risks, and is a Visiting Professor and Chair of the Advisory Board at the Nutrition Innovation Centre for Food & Health (NICHE) at Ulster University, Northern Ireland.
A Professional Member of IFT and former trustee of Feeding Tomorrow, he is an active fellow of the Institute of Food Science & Technology (UK) and the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK). He has a PhD in Food Chemistry (University College, Cork) and an MSc in Toxicology with Distinction (University of Surrey).