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In memoriam: Ir. Ernst Paardekooper

EHEDG lost one of its greatest hygienic design and food safety ambassadors. Ir. Ernst (E.J.C.) Paardekooper, who was widely respected for his expertise in microbiology, agro-technology, food safety and quality, passed away on November 6 at age 88. With his work, expertise, ideas and commitment, Paardekooper consistently contributed to global food safety and the development of the European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group for more than 30 years. 

After he completed his studies at the Technische Universiteit Delft in 1976, Paardekooper became the division manager of the Food Technology and Microbiology Department at TNO Voeding. He always remained true to his lifelong passion for food safety, and from 1989 to 2019, he was the chairman of the EHEDG Regional Section in the Netherlands, while continuing his work for TNO Voeding until his retirement in 2002. Ernst was a forward-looking visionary who, for example, already predicted the future of non-animal sourced proteins in the meat industry and the affiliated convenience food industry. In 2015, EHEDG distinguished him as an Honourable EHEDG Member for his lifelong contributions to the foundation. 

Ernst will be missed by many, and for many years to come. First and foremost by his beloved family and friends, and also by countless professionals in the global food industry, who valued him very much for his substantial body of knowledge, his creative and inquisitive mind, his relentless passion for food safety, and his talent to connect professionals of all backgrounds to contribute to food safety advancements around the world. The life and the legacy of Ernst Paardekooper will continue to be an inspiration to all of us.

Frans Saurwalt, Chair EHEDG Regional Section The Netherlands:
“With our honourable EHEDG member and longstanding EHEDG chairman Ernst Paardekooper, we lost a memorable and amiable expert and food safety ambassador of great stature. Right from the very start of EHEDG, Ernst contributed to a professional domain that was really close to his heart: food safety. His impressive knowledge, extensive network and his experience where of great value to establish safe food production through hygienic design. His personal efforts, enthusiasm  and commitment greatly helped EHEDG-NL to obtain an important position within the food industry. We feel deeply grateful to have known him, and we wish his next of kin solace and strength.”

Patrick Wouters, Vice-President EHEDG International:
“We remember Ernst with a great sense of gratitude. He was always full of enthusiasm, and full of ideas for new initiatives. He was able to encourage and motivate anyone to really go for it. His devotion to manage food safety, in particular through hygienic design, was remarkable and provided guidance and support to the Dutch Food Industry.”

Frank Moerman, former Chair EHEDG Regional Section Belgium: 
“Ernst was a charismatic motivator for many, and he played an active role in the development of the regional EHEDG section in Belgium. We’ve lost a true ‘compagnon de route’ and we will miss his companionship and great knowledge.” 

Carina Grijspaardt Vink, former chief-editor technical journal VMT:
“Ernst was a true inspirator with so many ideas, and he had a great interest in new developments. Besides his expertise, his extensive network was his greatest strength. He was able to connect people from different backgrounds and his out-of-the-box way of thinking was very valuable for VMT.”  

Judith Witte, chief-editor technical journal Voedingsindustrie:
“Ernst was a real visionary, who was often far ahead of his times. In his roles as chairman of EHEDG and the Amplitude Foundation, he continuously shared his knowledge, while raising the awareness for technological advancements that could contribute to improving food safety. He was a true explorer at heart, and was always very well informed about the latest developments and innovations.”  


Ir. Ernst Paardekooper (right) is granted the Honourable Membership status at the EHEDG Building Congress 2015, by Dr. Patrick Wouters.