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New chief specialist in Environmental Health appointed at the Food Safety Authority of Ireland

Posted on: 02 Feb 2022

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has announced the appointment of Rob Philips as Chief Specialist in Environmental Health. Leading on all aspects of environmental health in the FSAI, Rob will advise on food safety and hygiene issues and seek to ensure fair, proportionate, and consistent approaches to food law enforcement.  He will represent the FSAI at national, EU and international levels and support the wider Regulatory Affairs and Compliance Building team in the FSAI with issues relating to environmental health, food safety, food hygiene and regulatory affairs.


Additionally, Rob will lead on compliance building, the development of compliance supports and engage with stakeholders to build a culture of food safety within Ireland’s food industry. His work will also see him engage with Government departments, including the Department of Health, as well as the inspectorate in the official agencies and national and international bodies.


With over 20 years’ experience overseeing food safety and compliance, he has a strong background in environmental health, where he previously held the position of Senior Environmental Health Officer with Pembrokeshire County Council in Wales. In addition, prior to joining the FSAI, he acted as Food Fraud Co-Ordinator in the Welsh Food Fraud Co-Ordination Unit. Rob has also served as a Food Safety Expert on the Welsh Heads of Environmental Health Panel.  Prior to taking up this new role, Rob was Audit and Investigations Manager with the FSAI since 2018.


Commenting on the appointment, Dr Pamela Byrne, CEO, FSAI, expressed the importance of the position in enabling the FSAI to protect consumers through supporting the FSAI, the Environmental Health Service, the food safety laboratory service of the HSE and other official agencies in the consistent and effective implementation and enforcement of food legislation.


 “We are delighted to appoint Rob to this key role in the FSAI, where his environmental health qualifications and experience will bring increased benefits to our regulatory partnership approach, in collaboration with environment health officers throughout the country.

Rob will work with relevant Government departments, including the Department of Health, with official agencies and national and international bodies. Along with other colleagues in the FSAI, he will provide leadership for the FSAI at national, EU and international level in influencing policy and legislation development and contribute to the development and delivery of the FSAI priorities in a range of areas relating to food safety and regulatory affairs. Regulations continually change and adapt, with national and EU policies central to how we work in the FSAI.

Adherence to best practice in food safety and hygiene controls are the backbone of the environmental health surveillance approach which is vital to safeguard food for consumers,” says Dr Byrne.


Rob holds a BSc in Environmental Health from University Wales Institute Cardiff and is a member of the United Kingdom Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.  He also participated in EU Commission training missions in China and throughout Europe, and has delivered a number of successful training programmes for organisations which include the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and CEPOL (the European Agency for Law Enforcement Training).