Support for the Trans-Tasman Fresh Produce Safety Centre (FPSC) was clearly demonstrated in New Zealand in February this year when over forty representatives from the fresh produce industry attended events held by the Centre in Hawke’s Bay.

Following the FPSC Board’s quarterly meeting, around 30 QA/food safety people gathered to hear a review of the Centre’s recent activities, plans for further Australia and New Zealand collaboration on food safety and an update on New Zealand issues from HortNZ. Attendees raised a number of issues of importance to the industry in New Zealand.

Next day around forty food safety practitioners attended a Food Safety Issues Forum held at T&G Global at Whakatu.

FPSC’s Technology Manager, Richard Bennett, explained recent developments with harmonising the food safety requirements of Australian retailers and the implications this may have for the New Zealand industry. This was followed by a dynamic and wide-ranging discussion on recent outbreaks and other incidents, potential sources of contamination and the best of current and upcoming methods of addressing these.

In a survey following the events, all respondents rated the forum ‘good’, with 75% rating it very good or excellent. Over 90% rated the content ‘helpful’, with 75% saying it was ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ helpful and a useful addition to training and information currently available.

All respondents claimed that at least some of the information presented was new to them, with a third saying ‘most’ or ‘all’ the information was new; and 75% agreed the information presented was detailed enough to be useful—which was FPSC’s aim when putting the program together.

The networking, discussion and interactivity were viewed very positively, as was the Guidelines for Fresh Produce Food Safety which was released last year by the FPSC (for download from its website).

For more information on the FPSC and its upcoming events, go to the website and sign up for the fortnightly e-newsletter.

The Fresh Produce Safety Centre Ltd is an industry-led, industry-supported, not-for-profit company established to enhance fresh produce food safety across Australia and New Zealand through research, outreach and education.