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Food and Nutritional Sciences Divisions

CSIRO’s research in food and nutrition had its origins from three sources:

  • the Cold Storage Investigations Section established in 1926
  • the Dairy Research Section established in 1939
  • the Division of Human Nutrition created out of the former animal research laboratory, the Division of Nutritional Biochemistry in 1975.

The first laboratory of CSIR devoted to the food industry was the Cold Storage Investigations Section established around 1926. It became the Food Preservation and Transport Section in 1931 and then the Division of Food Preservation and Transport in 1940, located in Homebush, Sydney. In 1960 it moved to new premises in Sydney’s North Ryde and was renamed the Division of Food Preservation.

The Dairy Research Section was established in 1939 and formed part of the Division of Industrial Chemistry. It became the Division of Dairy Research in 1962.

In 1971 an amalgamation took place between the Division of Dairy Research and the Division of Food Preservation, resulting in the formation of the Division of Food Research. Subsequent name changes were the Division of Food Processing in 1988 and the Division of Food Science and Technology in 1992.

In 1975 following a review by Professor Frank Fenner, FRS from the Australian National University, the CSIRO Executive agreed to redirect the Division of Nutritional Biochemistry from animal nutrition into human nutrition and the Division of Human Nutrition was established in January 1975. The Division had its headquarters in Adelaide and conducted research into the treatment of diet-related diseases with an aim to improve community health.

In 1997 the Division of Food Science and Technology formed a joint venture with the Australian Food Industry Science Centre (AFISC), to create Food Science Australia. FSA’s aims were to develop methods of processing, packaging and distributing foods with an emphasis on efficiency, safety and quality.

In 1999 the Division of Human Nutrition merged with the Parkville laboratory of the Division of Molecular Science (formerly the Division of Protein Chemistry/Biotechnology/Biomolecular Engineering) to become the Division of Health Sciences and Nutrition focusing on the pharmaceutical and preventative health areas. In 2005 CSIRO Health Sciences and Nutrition (excluding the Adelaide site) merged with CSIRO Molecular Science to create a new division CSIRO Molecular and Health Technologies. At the same time, the Adelaide site of CSIRO Health Sciences and Nutrition became the CSIRO Human Nutrition Unit managed by Food Science Australia.

In 2010 the combination of Food Science Australia, CSIRO Human Nutrition Unit and the North Ryde laboratory of the Division of Molecular and Health Technologies became known as CSIRO Food and Nutritional Sciences.

In July 2012 the Division of Food and Nutritional Sciences merged with the Division of Livestock Industries to form the Division of Animal, Food and Health Sciences.

History of Food and Nutritional Sciences

Food & Nutrition Divisions 2

Chief of Division/Officer-in-Charge

Division Chief
Cold Storage Investigations Section (1926-31)
Food Preservation and Transport Section (1931-40) James Richard Vickery (1931-40)
Food Preservation and Transport (1940-60) James Richard Vickery (1940-60)
Food Preservation (1960-71) James Richard Vickery (1960-67)
Michael Vincent Tracey (1967-71)
Dairy Research Section, Div Industrial Chemistry (1939-62) Waldo Jackson Wiley (1939-46)
Geoffrey Dean Loftus Hills (1947-62)
Dairy Research (1962-71) Geoffrey Dean Loftus Hills (1962-71)
Food Research (1971-88) Michael Vincent Tracey (1971-78)
John Hinton Bassett Christian (1979-86)
Deston James Walker (1987-88)
Food Processing (1988-92) Deston James Walker (1988-92)
Food Science and Technology (1992-97) GJ Jameson (Acting 1992-93)
Christopher P Mallet (1994-95)
Michael Eyles (1995-97)
Food Science Australia (1997-2010) Michael Eyles (1997-2003)
Martin Barry Cole (2003-2004)
Alastair Robertson (2004-2005)
Kleanthes Yannakou (2005-2008)
Alan William Bell (Acting 2009-10)
Human Nutrition (1975-97) Alexander Thomas Dick (1975)
Basil Stuart Hetzel (1976-85)
Paul J Nestel (1986-94)
Richard J Head (1994-99)
Health Sciences and Nutrition (1997-2005) Richard J Head (1999-2002)
Graeme Woodrow (2002-05)
Molecular and Health Technologies (2005-2010) Graeme Woodrow (2005-10)
Human Nutrition Unit (2005-10) managed by Food Science Australia Kleanthes Yannakou (2005–08)
Alan William Bell (Acting 2009-10)
Food and Nutritional Sciences (2010 – 2012) Martin Barry Cole (2010 – 2012)
Animal, Food and Health Sciences (2012 – 2014) Martin Barry Cole (2012 – 2014)

Sources

• Schedvin CB, Trace K, 1978, Historical Directory of CSIR and CSIRO 1926-1976, CSIRO Publishing.

Encyclopedia of Australian Science [external link]

• CSIRO Annual Reports

• CSIRO Communications