Posts from the "Blog" category

Australian & New Zealand food safety, traceability and technology blog by PMA Technology Manager Richard Bennett


Back up the food safety training with a good book, writes Richard Bennett

There’s a lot of people responsible for grower, packer or processor quality assurance and food safety who are not technically trained in QA and food safety. That’s just a fact of life that reflects the size, structure and necessities of many fresh produce businesses – small, family and tight. It’s also the reason why some QA standards and customers insist on a minimum level of training for the person(s) responsible for managing food safety in the business, with some now also providing the required training.

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“So, why don’t we have a food safety regulation for Australian growers?” asks Richard Bennett

I haven’t found many growers who like regulation. The very thought of another regulation conjures up responses around more red or green tape, if it has to be regulated then it must be something I wouldn’t do voluntarily, it can’t have any commercial benefit, more bureaucracy wanting more of my…
New food safety & technology post by Richard Bennett on the PMA A-NZ Blog. Click here to view the full post.
Image credit: Carl Clifford/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

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Influenza pandemic will impact on fresh and processed produce industry, writes Richard Bennett

On 23rd September, SBS ONE’s Insight program ran a hypothetical-style question and answer forum on the subject of the impact of an influenza pandemic on the Australian community. The discussion included the health sector response, the rush to produce an effective vaccine, the role of emergency services, the impact on the Australian economy and how we would maintain the supply of food to the Australian population.
New food safety & technology post by Richard Bennett on the PMA A-NZ Blog. View the full post here: http://ift.tt/1t1b1N0
Image credit: Dr Terrence Tumpey

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Aus has a new Standard for Listeria monocytogenes, but does it apply to you? asks Richard Bennett

There already were maximum limits for Listeria monocytogenes in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code). Standard 1.6.1 had what’s called a vertical approach, establishing limits for specific types and limited number of foods. The limit generally specified was “not detected in 25 g”.
Guideline criteria for L. monocytogenes in foods is also provided in the FSANZ Recall guidelines for packaged ready-to-eat foods found to contain Listeria monocytogenes at point of sale (Recall Guidelines) and Guidelines for the microbiological examination of ready-to-eat foods (RTE Guidelines), based on whether a food is able, or not able, to support the growth of L. monocytogenes.
So what’s changed?
The prescriptive versus risk-based inconsistencies above have obviously troubled Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and the food industry. The product by product approach does not reflect product and processing characteristics that may mean some foods currently considered high risk are actually low risk due to the application of a listericidal process (a process that kills Listeria), and vice versa. This obviously makes a difference to the limits that apply.
View the full post at PMA AN-Z: http://bit.ly/ZUFqFF
Image credit: Listeria monocytogenes by Elizabeth White

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Five key messages from the Fresh Produce Safety Conference, writes Richard Bennett

Nearly 130 representatives from across the Australian and New Zealand ‘food safety value chain’ attended the second Fresh Produce Safety Conference in Sydney on 11th August 2014. Growers, packers and marketers, wholesalers, processors and retailers, QA facilitators and auditors, academia, researchers and students, government, industry associations and input suppliers, were all well represented. The mix of formal presentations, the opportunity to put questions to speakers, the interactive outreach and research sessions and networking whenever possible were all well received.

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“Learn from the past, because history has a habit of repeating itself” writes Richard Bennett

What’s the difference between a serious typhoid outbreak in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1964 and the tragic – was it cucumber or sprouts? – E. coli outbreak in Germany in 2011? Not a lot according to this article and the even worse news is that major foodborne illness outbreaks are most likely to happen…
New food safety & technology post by Richard Bennett on the PMA A-NZ Blog . View the full post here: http://ift.tt/1oYx2cq
Image credit: E. coli with flagella by AJ Cann CC BY-SA 2.0

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The #1 reason we bother with food safety? Because consumers demand it!, writes Richard Bennett

Consumers rank food safety at the supermarket as number 1. As suppliers, we often don’t give food safety the profile in our businesses that reflects this ranking, probably because we are focussed on price and quality. Consumers take a long time to forgive a food safety incident, which is why we must be so diligent to get food safety right.

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Death cap mushrooms – the industry is prepared for a perennial tragedy, writes Richard Bennett

With another four Canberra (Australian Capital Territory) residents struck down with poisoning from death cap mushrooms in April, the industry has the right to be nervous.

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The Dirty Dozen lives on, writes Richard Bennett

In one corner, the USA Environmental Working Group (EWG) has recently released its annual “Shopper’s Guide“, including its annual list of fresh produce most likely to contain pesticide residues. In the other corner, the fresh produce industry, represented by the Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF), provided the media with pre-release coverage as to why the Shopper’s Guide is a waste of reading time and followed up with a list of peer-reviewed studies and government reports to discredit the EWG release.
This annual stouch is becoming legendary but as I mentioned in a post on 27th March, even the high ground taken by the AFF – that the EWG claims are inaccurate, that the detected residues do not pose a food safety concern and that organic versus conventional is a non-event – does not come out entirely clean when the mud hits the fan. And communication experts tell me that a little bit of mud sticks in consumers’ memories every time, to be retrieved when they are in their local grocer or retail chain store asking themselves “What should I buy? What’s the best food for my family?”

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Free June GS1 DataBar Workshop will help avoid a crisis, writes Richard Bennett

In 2012, just as the Australian mango harvest was commencing and in the same week as the annual Sydney Markets Mango Auction, there was a mango recall in the USA. Salmonella. The only identifier used by the food authorities to identify the contaminated mangoes was the Price Look Up (PLU) code, 4959. For those not…
New food safety & technology post by Richard Bennett on the PMA A-NZ Blog . View the full post here: http://ift.tt/1wvtNRm

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