A Moy Park director and an executive director of the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA) have been acknowledged in King Charles’ New Year’s honours list this year.

Firstly, technical and research and development (R&D) director for Europe at food company Moy Park, Ursula Lavery, has been awarded an MBE. She has been awarded the honour for services to the agri-food industry and to the economy in Northern Ireland.

Ursula Lavery MBE said: “I am absolutely delighted and very humbled to receive this honour.

“I am proud to be part of the Northern Ireland agri-food industry, and this award is testament to the talented people I work with and everything we are doing to drive food integrity, animal welfare and provide a sustainable supply chain for our farmers and customers.”

Congratulating Ursula, Chris Kirke, president of Moy Park said: “Ursula is committed to achieving excellence across the supply chain, from farm to fork.

“She is a dedicated researcher, director and leader in our industry and on behalf of Moy Park we offer her our congratulations.”

Moy Park

Ursula Lavery joined Moy Park in 1987 as a marketing executive having graduated with a Bachelor of Science in food science from Queen’s University, Belfast.

Lavery moved into technical and quality management the following year and since then, the company has said that she has steadily help build Moy Park’s reputation as a leading food company with absolute commitment to animal health, food safety and quality.

Appointed to the Executive Board as technical director Europe in 2013, now technical and R&D director Europe, Lavery is responsible for an integrated Europe-wide technical organisation.

Recognised as a leading authority on food safety and poultry research, Lavery sits on several advisory bodies including IGD Technical Leadership Forum, Chilled Food Association (CFA), Food Industry Initiative on Antimicrobials (FIIA) where she is a founding member, and serves on the Food Industry Liaison Group of the Food Standards Agency NI.

She has previously sat on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) Acting on Campylobacter Together (ACT).

She is a board member and vice chairperson of NIFDA, both the Industrial Advisory Board of the Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS) and the AgriFood Quest Competence Centre at Queen’s University Belfast and is a non-executive director of both the Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIEL) and GS1 UK, which seeks to apply international standards via barcodes to consumer goods, healthcare products and more.

New Year’s honours list

Menawhile, NIFDA executive director Michael Bell has been awarded an OBE in the king’s New Year’s honours list for services to the food and drink industry and the economy in Northern Ireland.

Moy park
Michael Bell NIFDA

Michael Bell OBE said: “I am humbled to receive this honour. Food and drink is my lifelong passion, from watching my late father in the family bakery, to spending decades working in and on behalf of the industry.

“While I’m personally delighted, this is also recognition for Northern Ireland food and drink as a whole, and the 113,000 people working in jobs related to the sector. Food and drink is one of Northern Ireland’s most dynamic and successful industries, and our NIFDA members are among the most innovative businesses in NI.

“It is a privilege to champion this great industry, and this honour is the icing on the cake,” he said.

Michael graduated from Queen’s University Belfast with a food science degree. He is a chartered scientist and a Fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology.

He holds a diploma in company direction from the Institute of Directors and is a chartered director and has also studied at McGill University, St. Joseph’s University, Cornell University and Cranfield University.

For 12 years, Michael worked in the bakery trade in Northern Ireland and Malta. During this period, he worked closely with major UK retailers and was the youngest member on the senior management board of Ormeau Bakery.

Since its foundation in 1996, Michael has been instrumental in the development of NIFDA. He also led the development of the Northern Ireland Food Chain Certification Ltd., and the redevelopment of Taste of Ulster.

Michael is currently a board member of Agri-Quest and has held similar roles with AgriSearch and safefood. In March 2018 Michael was elected vice-president of the Institute of Food and Science Technology.