Gail Betts


  • PhD: Predicting bacterial spoilage of meat products

Latest publications


Dr Gail Betts has worked at Campden BRI for over 40 years. She started working in our Thermal Microbiology group in 1984 and was part of the research team that produced the data on the heat resistance of Listeria monocytogenes and Clostridium botulinum that forms the basis of industry accepted heat processes of 70°C for 2 minutes or 90°C/10minutes aimed at producing safe chilled food products. Gail then moved on to manage the Processing, Preservation and Spoilage section within the Microbiology department where she studied predictive food microbiology, the growth and survival of spoilage organisms and food pathogens and use of traditional and novel food preservation systems. She did her industrial PhD at Surrey University during this time on the predictive microbiology of meat products.

Gail has written many guidance documents on shelf-life protocols and challenge testing and has been a member of the European Working group that produced the technical guidance document for conducting shelf-life studies on Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods. She was also part of the ISO working group that produced the international standard on challenge testing. Gail is a member of the MicroVal Technical Committee which is responsible for validation of alternative microbiological test methods and regularly attends meetings of the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Foods as an invited member of the public.

Gail became the Head of Microbiology at Campden BRI in July 2021 and now manages over 50 experts and technical staff focussing on molecular microbiology and methods, emerging microbiology and viruses, microbiological safety and spoilage, industrial process microbiology, brewing microbiology and microbial risk assessment.

Working at Campden BRI has given Gail insights into many areas of the food, drink and allied industries. She has helped many companies to develop new products, evaluate new processing options, optimise packaging solutions and ensure the safety of chilled, ambient and frozen food products. She is still as passionate as ever about translating scientific knowledge into practical solutions for the food industry within the UK and globally.

Areas of interest

Safety of food and drink products, understanding impact of changing ingredients, recipes and processing parameters on continued food safety assurance

Specific areas of expertise

Food safety, Microbiological spoilage, Preservatives, microbial population dynamics, natural antimicrobials, heat resistance, predictive modelling, botulinum, Listeria, shelf-life, challenge testing.

Other activities within industry

Gail is a member of the MicroVal Technical Committee, BSI/ISO Standards Committee, and ISO 20976-1:2022 Challenge Test Working Group.

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