In 2009, Dr Blackburn joined the Food and Environmental Protection Subprogramme of the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, as their food irradiation specialist. Based at the IAEA Headquarters in Vienna, Austria, he also continues to work in the area of radioactivity in food, nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness and response in relation to food and agriculture and the development of international radiation safety standards and international food standards.
Previously, Carl worked in the United Kingdom at the Food Standards Agency and before that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. His career in the UK civil service involved science-based policy development in the area of food safety, commissioning research and managing research programmes in support legislation, policy development and implementation. Radioactivity in food responsibilities included: dose assessments of radioactive waste discharges in the UK; emergency response and radiological safety; public communications with consumer groups and residents living in the vicinity of different nuclear establishments; managing technical experts responsible for post-Chernobyl monitoring of UK sheep; managing research programmes related to food safety. Food irradiation responsibilities included managing a research portfolio to develop detection tests for irradiated food, revising and implementing food irradiation legislation in the UK, inspecting food irradiation facilities on behalf of the UK Government and internationally on behalf of the European Commission.
Carl has a post-doctorate diploma in radiological protection from the former National Radiological Protection Board of the United Kingdom. He has a PhD for his research on the gamma irradiation of DNA and a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Chemistry, both from the University of Leicester, United Kingdom.