Mieke Uyttendaele

miekeuyttendaele-jpgProfessor dr. ir.

Mieke Uyttendaele is a leading scientist in the field of food hygiene and food safety with high experience in the microbial analysis of foods and the prevalence and behaviour of food borne pathogens from farm to fork.

Prof. Mieke Uyttendaele (1969) has a diploma of Bio-Science Engineering (1992) and Ph.D in Applied Biological Sciences (1996) from Ghent University, Belgium. She further pursued research as a postdoc of the Belgian National Fund of Scientific Research and now holds an academic position as Full Professor at Ghent University since 2004 situated at the Department of Food Technology, Safety and Health at the Faculty of Bio-Science Engineering of Ghent University in Belgium.

Prof. Mieke Uyttendaele’s research area covers aspects of microbial analysis of foods (classical culture methods and rapid methods) and food safety (including a wide variety of pathogens including Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, pathogenic E. coli, Salmonella, foodborne viruses, Bacillus cereus etc.) and foods including poultry, meat and meat products, fruits and vegetables, fresh-cut produce, cooked chilled foods, dairy products etc.

She uses the knowledge on prevalence, behavior on food borne pathogens and general food microbiology as the basis for

  • input in microbial risk assessment in the agro-food supply chain,
  • the setting of microbiological guidelines
  • and evidence based decision making in food safety risk management.

She has built ca. 25 years of scientific research experience by executing, initiating and coordinating research projects in this working field. She was/is the promotor of ca. 25 Ph.D students (including also various non EU citizens) working on projects financed by EU (FP 6 PathogenCombat, FP7 VEG-i-TRADE), Belgian federal and regional governments or personal mandates of persons coming from EU or third countries.

In the period 2010-2014 she was the coordinator of the EU FP7 Veg-i-Trade project looking into the impact of climate change and international trade on food safety of fresh produce, in which she focused mainly on aspects on food borne viruses in berries and pathogens in leafy greens.

Nowadays her research interests also include benefits and risks posed by the use of microbial control agents in edible plant production e.g. the case of Bacillus thuringiensis versus human pathogenic B. cereus. The latter relates to the discussion of the plant microbiome being the source of human pathogens or rather a protective factor against the persistence or profileration of human pathogens, the definition of human pathogens, the definition of opportunistic pathogens, the notion of hazard versus risk and the definition of ‘acceptable risk’. This topic is situated within the COST HUPlantControl Action 16110 for which Mieke Uyttendaele is the responsible to coordinate overarching communication and dissemination activities.

Furthermore, her research interest has lately mainly focused not only to food safety of fresh produce but also extended to food safety and microbial ecology of minimal processed foods of vegetable origin i.e. frozen fruits or vegetables, dried herbs and spices, hummus, pesto, salsa and other plant-based (acidified) spreads but also traditional fermented foods of plant origin.

Finally, Mieke Uyttendaele is convinced that food safety should be part of food security and that it is thus important that food safety is to be positioned as one of the aspects within the overall promotion of healthy, nutritious and sustainable food to the general public. She is engaged in food safety training both at national and international level to Bachelor and Master students and (young) professionals. Within this context she seeks to learn more about best practices and adequate didactical tools and methods for food safety education as well as (microbial) risk communication.

Throughout her career Prof. Uyttendaele, has published more than 270 peer reviewed scientific papers and presented at numerous international Conferences/Workshops. She has been an ad hoc member of several EFSA panels’ working groups and was a member of the Scientific Committee of the Belgian Food Safety Agency in period 2009-2017 and the Belgian Health Council.

  • Member of COST Action 16110 – Control of Human Pathogenic Micro-organisms in Plant Production Systems (HUPLANTcontrol)
  • co-Promotor of VLIR UOS International Training Program “Evidence-Based Decision making in Food Safety” (also refered to as ITP Food Safety)
  • Author of the book ‘Microbiological Guidelines: Support for Interpretation of Microbiological Test Results of Foods’, die Keure publishing 2018, 478 pgs, ISBN 9782874035036


Contact & Bibliography:

Prof. dr. ir. Mieke Uyttendaele



HUPLANT control

ITP Food Safety

‘Microbiological Guidelines: Support for Interpretation of Microbiological Test Results of Foods’