Chartered Scientist


About CSci

Nigel Pattenden


I currently work as a Senior Food Technologist at Marks and Spencer, where I oversee the safety and quality of the food sold through the Delicatessen category, the largest category in the M&S Food Group. This involves knowledge and application of a wide range of skills, from food microbiology and processing to HACCP. M&S is known for its innovation and my second major job role involves working with chefs to bring to market new product developments in this area that are safe, nutritious and tasty. I am also Chairman of our Chemistry Policy Group determining product testing policy for the food group.

Each role provides a great deal of job satisfaction in its own way. The first involves constantly reacting to food scares and managing adverse microbiological issues as they arise, most recently the nationwide all-retailer withdrawal of houmous due to possible Salmonella muenchen contamination. How could it have happened? How do we restart production and prevent a reoccurrence? All these are challenging questions. Equally, it is always satisfying to participate in the development and success of a new line. Joining IFST was important as I believe that in today’s 24-hour media world, with analytical techniques constantly evolving to bring to light new issues, the practising Food Technologist needs a professional body to represent them and advise where necessary. Moreover, it is essential to maintain industry standards to have a degree of professional recognition beyond one’s employer.

My application for CSci was extremely straightforward. CSci is valuable in providing professional recognition beyond one’s own industry to be able to influence the daily change agenda. For example, we know so little about irradiation and once we have it we cannot undo that. There is a ‘creep’ of irradiated foods and ingredients into Europe and I wonder where this will end.

Food as a building block of health is a science still in its infancy. Almost daily I hear a new pronouncement – ‘eat more fat, eat less fat, eat more tomatoes, eat more fruit’, and then fruit gets a red traffic light because of sugar! And with the effect of things like beef from South America and vegetables from the Far East on food miles, I have a feeling the diet in a decade may be very different from today.