Lisa Ackerley

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Dr Lisa Ackerley CMCIEH FRSPH is a British food safety expert[citation needed].

In 1984 Ackerley gained a First Class Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Environmental Health from Bristol Polytechnic (now University of the West of England). Her thesis examined the survival of Campylobacter jejuni on kitchen surfaces and also uncovered that many GPs were unaware of the organism. This led to the publication of her first academic paper with Dr Alan Jones.[1]

Ackerley went to work at Cherwell District Council in 1984 as an Environmental Health Officer[citation needed]. Following this, she moved to Thames Polytechnic (now University of Greenwich) where she became Senior Lecturer in Food Law and Practice, teaching on the undergraduate Environmental Health programme.[citation needed]

In 1990 she was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship[citation needed] to travel to the USA and Canada to study concepts of hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP). This involved visiting the Pilsbury factory in Minneapolis where HACCP was invented as part of the NASA space programme. She visited a number of cook-chill outlets, academics including Pete Snyder and spoke at the National Environmental Health Association Conference in Carolina.

Ackerley's PhD (University of Birmingham) covered the subject of consumer awareness of food poisoning and food hygiene[citation needed]. She examined the factors that influence behaviour change – for example people will not change their behaviour unless they see there is a value in change – if they think that they are unlikely to get food poisoning, or cause it, then maybe they can't be bothered to change. Equally if they think that food poisoning is not likely to be anything more than an upset tummy, then perhaps they would not think it is worth the effort to follow food hygiene practices.[citation needed]

The work on uncovering the secrets of what people believe in relation to food safety continues, with Ackerley's work for the UK Hygiene Council’s [2] survey of home hygiene. Last year’s study revealed that 75% of dishcloths were extremely dirty – indicating that when people think they are cleaning, they are actually “dirtying”. Chris Evans on BBC Radio 2 interviewed Ackerley in February 2009 on this very subject, as he was concerned about why his dishcloths smelled so bad.[3][4]

Ackerley is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health [5] which gives her the title Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner. She speaks regularly at events for the institution to her fellow members – for example, presented a paper on E. coli O157 in November 2008 to the Sussex Group, a presentation on Home Hygiene to the Herts Beds and Bucks branch in December 2008 and a talk on Rogue Restaurants to the CIEH Commercial group in December 2008.

As a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health [6] Ackerley is involved in Members' events, for example speaking at the June 2008 Members evening on E. coli O157.[7] She is also the food safety adviser to the Society, producing the regular Food Safety Update. Hygiene Audit Systems provides a free hygiene helpline for members of the RSPH.[8] Ackerley spoke at the E. coli conference on 13 May 2009 at the RSPH,[9] and has chaired two conferences for the RSPH; one on E. coli in 2011 and one on Food Safety Challenges in 2010.

Ackerley is a Member of the Society of Food Hygiene Technology (SOFHT) [10] and is a regular speaker at their events. In March 2009 in Barnsley she presented a paper on Rogue Restaurants: the implications for food safety training. In 2009, Dr Ackerley was appointed as the Visiting Professor in Environmental Health at the University of Salford. In 2011, Ackerley received the prestigious award from SOFHT for The Most Significant Contribution to Food Safety, and in the same year was appointed a Professorial Fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health. From 2011-2012 Ackerley taught on the MSc Environmental Health Course at King's College London. In March 2012 she presented a paper on Current Issues in Environmental Health.

Ackerley is now Managing Director of Hygiene Audit Systems Ltd, an independent consultancy specialising in food safety and health and safety. Ackerley is still hands on, appearing as an expert witness from time to time, notably at the fatal accident inquiry (FAI) into the E. coli deaths associated with the John M. Barr & Son butcher shop[11] and also more recently a Salmonella outbreak in a nursery and another FAI in Scotland. She is involved in the development and review of food management systems for many clients, following the principles of keeping food safety simple.

Ackerley has worked with TV and local and national radio, including BBC Watchdog,[12] and as the food safety expert on BBC1 Rogue Restaurants, a spin-off of Rogue Traders, with Matt Allwright and Anita Rani. Ackerley was the health expert on the BBC1 program Secret Tourist where she travelled to an array of locations examining the conditions of the hotels, and also appeared on the BBC1 show Save our Holiday. Most recently Ackerley has appeared on Holiday Hit Squad with Angela Rippon, Helen Skelton and Joe Crowley,[13] advising hoteliers with poor and often dangerous standards on improving hygiene and safety. She regularly provides interviews for radio and press on environmental health issues, and is a regular on the Jonathan Vernon-Smith show on BBC Three Counties Radio.

With her team at Hygiene Audit Systems Ackerley often leads hygiene studies for major brands, including Dettol.

Ackerley was appointed to the Editorial Board for Perspectives in Public Health, a bi-monthly peer-reviewed publication produce by the RSPH in October 2012.[14][15]

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