Key spokespeople are available at FSS to convey information and reassure the public around a wide range of issues relating to food. Our experts are happy to speak about various topics including:
- food safety, science and foodborne illness
- food and feed incidents or outbreaks
- nutrition and healthy eating
- the FSS Board, Brexit, and general public health issues.
For more information about any of our spokespeople please contact the FSS communications team.
Our key spokespeople are:
Ross Finnie has spent over thirty-five years in public life, and brings a wealth of experience to Food Standards Scotland. In addition to being Chair of FSS Ross is also Vice-Chair of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board a non-executive member of the Glasgow City Integrated Joint Board, and a non-executive member of the Water Industry Commission for Scotland. His membership of the Health Board and the Integrated Joint Board give him further relevant engagement in public health issues such as foodborne disease, diet and obesity.
For eight years, Ross was the Scottish Cabinet Minister for the Environment and Rural Development, which included responsibility for food, meat traceability and animal health and welfare. He was also an opposition spokesperson on health for four years, promoting, among other things, food standards and food safety.
Ross’s earlier career was in financial services specialising in corporate finance, serving on the Boards of two merchant banks and acting as a non-executive director on the Boards of a number of SMEs.
Louise Welsh has worked at a high level in the food industry for over 15 years, including five years in senior management at Morrisons, one of the UK’s big four supermarkets.
She has an in depth knowledge of all stages of the food chain: from the farm, through to processing and all the way to the end consumer. Prior to moving in to the food sector, Louise was a journalist and worked for BBC Scotland. She is a skilled communicator and negotiator.
Louise was the first woman to be appointed board member of Quality Meat Scotland, the red meat industry body. She was appointed Deputy Chair of FSS in June 2016. She has also been appointed as a board member for the Moredun Foundation.
Geoff was appointed the first Chief Executive of Food Standards Scotland, on 1 April, 2015. This followed his appointment as Acting Director for Food Standards Agency in Scotland in 2014. Before this, Geoff was Portfolio Director improving FSA’s approach to programme management.
Geoff joined the FSA in December 2008 and worked in field operations until 2013 with responsibility for all compliance and enforcement of FSA approved premises. He moved from that role to become the senior investigating officer for the horsemeat incident.
Geoff became the interim FSA Director for Wales in May 2013 until February 2014 where he gained valuable experience working in a devolved Government. Geoff has also undertaken a strategic review of the FSA’s approach to SMEs and was lead reviewer for the focus on enforcement review of OFSTED Early Years Inspection.
As Director of Operations of Food Standards Scotland, Ian oversees official controls delivery, local authority audit and enforcement, incident and intelligence response, veterinary audit and technical advice. He also has overall responsibility for the food premises approvals, shellfish controls including service level agreements, contract and performance management and wine standards.
Ian joined the Food Standards Agency in 2009 leading on the creation of the Operations Directorate which brought the Meat Hygiene Service and Food Standards Agency together. He then led the Operations team in Scotland from 2012 working closely with Scottish Government to create Food Standards Scotland.
Ian worked with Consumer Protection Services from 1990 until 2003 where he led a multi-disciplinary team delivering official controls in food, health and safety, environmental protection and public health. Ian then became Area Manager with responsibility for official controls delivery for the Meat Hygiene Service in 2003.
Norval was appointed as the first FSS Chief Scientific Advisor in 2016 alongside his position as Professor of Physics at the University of Aberdeen specialising in foodborne illnesses such as E. coli O157, campylobacter, salmonella and listeria.
Professor Strachan is a key driver in the delivery of the principle science roles within Food Standards Scotland, from commissioning and evaluating research to communicating scientific and risk advice. Norval is Head of Profession for scientists within Food Standards Scotland and provides advice to the Chief Executive and the Board. He brings three decades of expertise and is developing the organisation’s science and evidence strategy.
Norval has significant research experience in food safety, has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers, and, previous to this role, served as a grants review panel member for Food Standards Scotland.
Heather heads up a team of nutrition scientists whose focus is to improve the Scottish diet and empower the people of Scotland to have diets which are conducive to good health.
Heather and her team commission and manage research, monitoring and surveillance relevant to the Scottish diet and provide advice on evidence based measures for tackling diet related ill health and obesity in Scotland.
Throughout a long career in nutrition Heather has developed her knowledge and expertise relating to the Scottish diet, from contributing to the Scottish Diet Report in 1993 through to the development of current FSS diet and nutrition policies tackling poor diet and obesity in Scotland.
Heather worked for the Food Standards Agency in Scotland for 9 years as a Senior Scientific Advisor in diet and nutrition. Previous to this Heather held a post as lecturer in nutrition at the University of Aberdeen.
Jacqui heads up the Food Protection Science and Surveillance team responsible for the provision of scientific advice and evidence gathering activities for food safety and authenticity. Jacqui worked for the Food Standards Agency in Scotland for 10 years as a senior scientific advisor in food safety. Her career followed a PhD in environmental science and 5 years of post-doctoral research in molecular microbiology and biochemistry.
Throughout her career, Jacqui has developed extensive experience in all areas of food safety, particularly the microbiological safety of food and the prevention of foodborne illness.
In her current role, she leads a team of scientists in the commissioning and management of research programmes on food safety and authenticity, the provision of risk assessment to support food incidents and outbreaks, and collaboration with Scottish local authorities to co-ordinate food surveillance activities in Scotland.
Ron was initially a consultant for Food Standards Scotland and became the Head of the Scottish Food Crime & Incidents Unit in 2016 after being asked to build a food crime capability by the Chief Executive.
A former Senior Police Officer in Scotland, he retired from the Police in 2015, after 30 years’ service. During this period he served in a number of operational policing roles.
For the last 5 years of his police service, he was specifically involved in leading the investigation into serious and organised crime as Force Authorising Officer and Head of Intelligence for Tayside Police. In that role he was responsible for all force covert activity. Latterly Ron worked within the Police Service of Scotland's intelligence function and performed the role of Intelligence Commander for the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.