The Horticulture Food Safety Initiative (HFSI) aims to elevate Food Safety Standards in the ANZ Fresh Produce Industry with an initial focus on melons, berries, and leafy vegetables. FPSC-ANZ Technical Officer Susannah Roelofsz is pleased to share the latest progress update on this Project.


Governance and Stakeholder Engagement

The Project Reference Group (PRG) comprising of Key Stakeholders and Technical Advisors continues to meet regularly. As part of engagement, I have continued to meet with Key Stakeholders across Australia and New Zealand in the Fresh Produce Supply Chain. Thank you to everyone I have had the opportunity to engage with so far, and for sharing your food safety insights to inform the Projects activities. We recently had an insightful session with the FPSC-ANZ Board members hearing directly about the progress being made by the Horticulture Implementation Working Group (HIWG) on the new Horticulture Regulatory Standards. We discussed further collaboration on the key area of industry outreach, especially as it relates to smaller growers that are not already part of a Food Safety Certification and Assurance system.

Fresh Produce Safety Community of Practice (COP)

We welcomed 2024 with our second COP Meeting in January, attended virtually by 40+ COP Members across Australia and New Zealand, and across the Fresh Produce Supply Chain including Industry, Retail, Standard Owners, Regulatory, Peak Industry and Research Bodies. COP Membership has increased by more than 25% since the previous meeting. The COP platform provides an excellent opportunity for connection, collaboration, sharing of knowledge and learnings. At our last meeting, our members had an opportunity to discuss crisis management and technical resources available for producers in adverse weather conditions. It is anticipated that the COP will grow as the Project progresses, with a view to forming focus groups to address specific challenges and opportunities. If you are interested in joining our COP, please email:]

What’s next?

In the next Phase of the Project, we will be surveying Stakeholders in the Fresh Produce Industry in Australia and New Zealand, aiming to identify opportunities for food safety support, research needs, and extension strategies. Collaborating with the University of Sydney and the University of Otago, we will use online surveys and phone interviews to gather insights. We will also focus on engaging small-scale growers (including English Second Language), addressing their unique challenges in implementing food safety practices. As we develop an Industry Engagement Plan, we will look to utilise various outreach channels like social media, webinars, newsletters and training. Additionally, we are looking to establish a Food Safety Helpdesk to provide technical support for Industry Members, addressing scientific and technical queries related to fresh produce food safety. We are learning from existing produce sector specific helpdesks on how such a service may add value to the wider fresh produce sector more broadly, without duplication. If you have any feedback or suggestions as we progress with these listed activities, please contact Susannah at: