A tool to manage the food recall risks

Development of a modelling tool to manage food recall risks due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

With an increasing demand for fresh or less-processed foods, minimising food safety risks has become a unique challenge to food businesses and public health authorities. A food-borne pathogen, such as Listeria monocytogenes, poses a serious threat to public health. This is because it is ubiquitous in nature and can cause a potentially life-threatening disease called listeriosis. L. monocytogenes has also been identified as a cause of numerous outbreaks associated with a variety of foods especially ready-to-eat products. Accordingly, a number of control strategies have been adopted to minimise the food safety risks associated with this pathogen. These include implementing interventions for reducing L. monocytogenes prevalence and environmental monitoring programs, and stringently following good manufacturing practices and sanitation standard operation procedures.

Despite those control strategies being in place, the presence of L. monocytogenes in foods still occurs and typically leads to a food recall. In Australia, there has been an increasing trend in food recalls due to microbial contamination over the last decade. L. monocytogenes was also amongst the most common pathogens responsible for food recalls (72 of 201 recalls between 2012 and 2021). These recalls greatly reduce consumer trust and affect food businesses' profitability. Therefore, being able to assess and manage the risks of food products being recalled is critical to the success of business while protecting public's health.

The aim of this project is to develop a framework for modelling approach for assessing the risks of food recalls due to L. monocytogenes. Ready-to-eat products and leafy green vegetables will be used as a model product to develop that framework. The framework will then be used to develop a decision support tool that can be readily adopted by food businesses to manage better the risks of those products being recalled or modified to consider other food products.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Jay Kocharunchitt


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applications are open to Domestic and International applicants
  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Experience in mathematical modelling

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Jay Kocharunchitt to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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