Our staff

Meet some of our dedicated food and drink staff...

Ruth Alderman

Ruth studied photography and later moved into professional camera sales before a radical carrier change into wholefoods co-operatives. She worked for a number of years with a large wholefoods worker co-cooperative managing one of their retail outlets. Ruth started with Soil Association Certification in 2008 and is now a senior certification officer managing ethical trade certification and wholesalers as well as working in the alcohol, beverages, dried goods, COR certification and textiles sectors.

Ruth Alderman 

Michelle Barrett

Michelle graduated from Oxford Brookes University in 2007 with an honours degree in Public Health Nutrition. After working in the food industry for a couple of years, Michelle joined Soil Association Certification in September 2009 as a certification officer in the processor team.

Michelle previously worked as a lab assistant for a flavouring and botanicals company, as well as in new product development for a home baking and spices company. Her biggest achievement was being involved in the product development process of their Disney relaunch (from ingredient sourcing through to packaging). She particularly enjoyed taking part in the professional photoshoot of the products. As well as working in the health and beauty sector on the team, Michelle will also be helping licensees from ambient and fresh produce.

Michelle Barrett 

Finn Cottle

Finn has spent more than 20 years working for two of the major supermarket groups in the UK, running various buying departments across the fresh food sector. This has given her a wide range of experience within both food manufacturing, supply chain and category management for retail. In 2006, she joined the Board of Noble Foods as Marketing & Strategy Director, giving her first hand experience of supplying food into supermarkets as well as bringing her closer to farming and animal welfare issues.

In 2009, Finn took up the opportunity to work with SA Certification as a Trade Consultant, using her knowledge and network to help build relationships with licensees and drive growth within the organic market. Her retail perspective has proved to be invaluable in considering the challenges which the organic sector faces: she has a specific focus on dairy where she spent a big part of her retail career.

Finn really enjoys working with organic companies and the passion with which they approach their business. Her shopping basket is now much fuller of organic products as she has gradually been converted.

Finn Cottle

Emma Dawes

Emma has been our senior technical officer for over four years. She is our queen of chemistry with a background which includes experience in laboratories. Emma is responsible for dealing with contamination in organic products. Emma also contributes to the decisions over which chemicals or products are suitable to be used under the health & beauty and textile standards.

If you want a chemical input approved, either send the details and MSDS to Emma or your certification officer and she will check to see if it meets all the technical requirements of the standards. Emma also attends technical meetings involving licensees and other certification bodies.

Emma Dawes

Tamarind Falk

Tamarind developed her interest in the environmental impact of food production whilst studying Natural Sciences (Biology and Geography) and doing internships with Sustain and The Food Ethics Council. She joined Soil Association Certification in 2007 and her role involves working with companies processing organic meat, fish and dairy products as well as with caterers who are working towards or have achieved the Food for Life Catering Mark award.

Tamarind Falk 

Jessica Harris

Jessica has an MSc in Nutrition and Food Science. Whist studying for her degree her passion for food and the catering industry flourished. Before joining the Processor Certification team in 2011 she worked in new product development before becoming a Quality Assurance Technologist. Jessica has also run many nutrition workshops mainly with children in her role as a part time youth worker. Her role at Soil Association Certification includes working in the baby food, meat, catering and textiles sectors.

Jessica Harris 

Rachel Harrison

Rachel is our processor technical manager and has worked for Soil Association Certification for 13 years. Rachel provides technical support to our processor licensees and also deals with a host of questions regarding organic standards and regulations, pest control issues, importing, labelling, permitted additives/processing aids and packaging.

She has also become our guru on the EU logo. Regularly liaising with Defra over interpretation of EU regulation, Rachel is the Soil Association Certification’s representative on the European Organic Certifiers Council. She also runs the Processor Technical Working Group and Processor Fresh Produce Packers Group.

Rachel Harrison

Alex Hart

Alex studied Geography & Geology and started work at Soil Association in 2008. His role includes specialism in the fresh produce, beverages and alcohol sectors as well as exporting to the Americas.

Alex Hart 

Lee Holdstock

Having been with Soil Association Certification since 1999 in both certification and business development roles, Lee brings to the team broad experience of the certification, technical and commercial needs of a wide range of symbol holders. With a primary focus on ambient grocery products, Lee leads on various trade initiatives designed to help widen organic market channels in areas such as export, food-to-go and vending.

Lee Holdstock 

Lizzie Moss

Lizzie joined the Soil Association in October 2013 as a Certification Officer. Prior to that she was working as the Head of Communications for a small herb & spice importer in her hometown of Bath, and specialising in import/export legislation for a small wholesaler. In 2011 Lizzie graduated with a BSc in Food and Consumer Management, which allowed her to look deeper into the issues surrounding food production, and it was her interest in food policy and sustainability that prompted her decision to write her final-year dissertation on the issue of food security within the UK.

During this time she was also able to gain experience working in a variety of different companies, including local charities, large NGOs and 2 months spent in the Regulatory Affairs department at Kraft Foods. All of this has helped encourage Lizzie’s passion for food law, ethics and sustainability, and she is relishing the opportunity to learn more in her role at the Soil Association.
 

Lizzie Moss

Rachel Payne

Rachel earned an MSc in Social Research before starting at the Soil Association as a volunteer on the Standards team in 2011. Shortly after this she started working in Certification's admin team and then moved to the Processor Certification team as a Certification Officer in November 2012, and then Senior Certification Officer in November 2013. Rachel works in the herbs and spices, cereals and fresh produce sectors as well as the Catering Mark.

Rachel Payne 

Phil Skentelbery

Phil studied Oceanography and marine biology before working in various industries including butchery and catering, and joining Soil Association Certification in 2006. His role includes line managing certification officers working in the meat, fish, poultry, catering and textiles sectors.

 

Lizzi Testani

Lizzi joined Soil Association Certification in early 2013. She developed an interest in ethical food and ingredients after her colourful experiences working in a vegan restaurant as a student, then returned to Bristol to manage a café serving locally sourced and free-range ingredients. Her areas of focus as certification officer are catering, eggs, dairy and poultry.

Lizzi Testani 

Hannah Turner

Hannah joined Soil Association Certification in 2006 from one of the major supermarkets in the UK, where she was working as a management trainee. Previous to that she attended the Royal Agricultural College studying Food and Agriculture business management and Bristol University studying Pathology and Microbiology. Since joining Hannah has held various roles including processing certification officer and in 2014 became Operations Director for Soil Association Certification. Having grown up on a dairy farm, processing milk to ice cream, Hannah has always been passionate about the countryside, agriculture and the food industry. Having just returned to work after starting a family she is balancing work, a young child the challenges of her new role and the exciting opportunities that a growing organic market are throwing her way.

Hannah Turner 

Maarten van Perlo

Maarten studied social cultural work, had a variety of jobs including working on a small holding, organic farm, ran an organic box scheme and as quality control and production supervisor for an organic herb and spice importer and processor. He joined Soil Association Certification in 2000. His current role is specialist certification officer working in the health and beautycare and fresh produce sector.

Maarten van Perlo 

 

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