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Marks & Spencer

Microbiologist / Food Safety Manager

Full Job Description

M&S Food is changing, and fast! We are undergoing one of the biggest transformations in retailing today to build a bigger, better, fresher food business.

From Percy Pig to the freshest M&S Select Farms produce, we grow, source, and develop our own products to give our customers family-ready food that’s unbeatable on flavour and innovation.

We need motivated people who are ready to bring their whole self to work and give it their all in a fast-paced team committed to being the best. After all, this is not just food… This is M&S Food.

This role will lead policy development and approach to governance, standards and incident management on product safety including Microbiology, Chemistry and Allergens within M&S foods. As our Specialist Technical Manager you will provide advice to the Food Leadership Team and Food Technology Team on handling current microbiological, chemical, and allergenic risks & issues.

You will also advise on strategic direction for future risks to the customer and the Brand, As well as leading the external laboratory contract and external service providers, you will also represent M&S internally and externally on relevant professional panels and research boards.

Key accountabilities and measures

  • Accountability for writing or reviewing for all Product Safety (Microbiological, Chemistry and Allergy) Food Safety standards and associated documents
  • Lead Technologist owners of microbiological, chemistry and allergy requirements and mentorship documents to ensure they are kept up to date with regulatory and industry changes. Mentor technologist owners where appropriate
  • Leading advisory role in any Product Safety incident
  • Handle the contract laboratory to ensure that we are gaining maximum benefit from our independent testing program
  • Continually improve our data reporting, effectiveness, and efficiency via our outsourced laboratory provider
  • Handle the independent product testing budget to ensure maximum value is returned to M&S and the supply base
  • Horizon scanning on issues, engagement of external partners and internal team members on any changes affecting M&S products or brand
  • Lead on response to regulators on product safety related policy, guidance and regulations
  • Handles the Product Safety Laboratory Accreditation Scheme and approved methods use with our external labs
  • Management of SLA for all testing laboratories and drive strategic direction of laboratory relationships on all types of independent product and audit sample testing
  • Drive innovation with Technologists and suppliers on ways to proactively use product safety knowledge to help unlock new or novel processes and prevent issues and understand key safety and spoilage issues
  • Deliver formal and informal training/upskilling for the technical team and suppliers.
  • Lead on R&D projects related to Product Safety that offer tangible return on investment for M&S
  • Represent M&S as a product safety guide on internal and relevant external forums e.g. M&S Action Groups, BRC, FSA
  • Lead point of contact for external scientific advisors. Ensuring a clear and prioritised programme of activity and routine review of horizon scanning projects
  • Continually drive improvements in ways of working and efficiency related to Product Safety Management including the independent testing programme
  • Act as an independent subject matter authority in the areas of Product Safety to support category teams in incident management and also drive ongoing improvements in compliance and governance

You will need

  • Expert understanding and knowledge of food microbiology, chemistry and allergens and/or ability to translate & support other key areas of science related to M&S foods
  • Clear and Calm communication skills, particularly during incident management, to a wide range of collaborators from non-technical roles to technical directors and senior team
  • Ability to translate and communicate sophisticated scientific issues to support Technical Leadership team and Technologists make informed, risk based decisions
  • Ability to make both strategic business level proposals and decisions and also to deal with fine detail of issues and situations, and to confidently switch between the two ways of working
  • Supporting and coaching approach to ensure technical team is continually unskilled in their knowledge to be able to deal with day to day product safety or quality challenges without need to raise
  • Positive and engaging style with ability to develop trusted relationships with a wide variety of partners, both internal and external
  • Ability to develop and lead or outsource effective training programme for colleagues and suppliers in relation to Product Safety
  • Entrepreneurial mind set in delivery of risk-based solution to enable market leading innovation and food safety management
  • Effective contract management to maximise the benefits from contract laboratory and service providers


M&S is ready to push boundaries to lead the retail industry into a greener, speedier, more inspiring digital era. That’s why we’re revolutionising how we work and offering our most exciting opportunities yet. There’s never been a better time to be part of our team. Marks & Spencer aims to be an inclusive organisation, trusted and admired by our colleagues, customers and suppliers. Join us and make an immediate impact.

We are committed to an active Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunities Policy, which starts with our recruitment and selection process, and we are happy to talk flexible working.

If you consider yourself to require reasonable adjustments to any part of our recruitment process, we invite you to share those requirements with us when completing your application. We will make every effort to ensure your needs are met to provide a fair and transparent process of assessment.

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