Posts from the "Events" category

Australian Food Safety Week,11 – 17th November 2013

It is the second week of November and the Food Safety Information Council (FSIC) is holding its annual Australian Food Safety Week!
The Food Safety Information Council provides information to consumers, aiming to reduce the incidence of food poisoning, and to protect people from what is often a nasty experience involving diarrhoea, vomiting, cramps and fever.
This years theme is Shopping Food Safety focusing on ‘Clean, Choose, Chill and Separate‘ when selecting food and transporting  it home safely. A national Newspoll Survey, commissioned by the Food Safety Information Council for Australian Food Safety Week, shows that too few Australian consumers are taking notice of vital food safety advice on food labels and are taking risks by not using insulated bags or coolers to transport refrigerated food.
Strict food safety standards apply to food retailers in Australia to ensure that the food you buy is safe. But there are some signs you can look for to ensure you buy a safe product. Once you buy the food, it’s up to you to make sure that it stays safe including not leaving shopping in a hot car. To read more about this topic, click here.
Resources available from over the years in various topics concerning consumer food safety. To view them, click here.
Source: Food Safety Information Council [13.11.2013]
While the food safety tips apply to all agricultural produce, fresh produce features as a significant risk to consumers due to the raw eaten nature of the product. Education on food safety is vital to ensure the integrity of fruit and vegetables to be healthy, nutritious and safe.

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New Research in Food safety at the 13th ASEAN Food Conference, Singapore 2013

The biennial ASEAN Food Conference is the leading forum for the food industry and research community in the region. The theme of the 13th ASEAN Food Conference held on the 9th-11th September 2013 in Singapore was “Meeting Future Food Demands: Security and Sustainability”.
Issues of malnutrition, undernutrition, and sustainable production were certainly important topics. However the themes were interpreted quite broadly to encompass, for example, how improvement in nutritional quality and food safety could benefit consumer health and community livelihoods, and help to address the alarming worldwide escalation in diet-related and lifestyle diseases. Sustainability was discussed less in terms of environmental impact, and more in terms of innovations in food processing, quality and safety to sustain long-term food industries.
The program included sessions on: managing innovation, nutrition & health, food chemistry & biochemistry, sensory science & consumer studies, food microbiology, food engineering, food processing, food product development, protein and weight management, food safety, food science and technology education, functional foods, nanotechnology of food, food analysis and quality assurance, and management of allergens in the food chain. The full program is available online, click here. 

The conference was about food generally, but some interesting topics relevant to produce safety included:

Development of a fermentation process to produce a natural preservative called phenyllactic acid (PLA) from Lactobacillus plantarum bacteria. The PLA was shown to have antimicrobial activity against a variety of pathogens and extended the shelf-life of fresh-cut pineapple and bottled pineapple juice (Bui Kim Thuy, Nguyen Duy Lam, and Nguyen Thi Hoai Tram).
Development of a Surface Plasmon Resonance biosensor and sensor chips with antibodies specific to Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Enteritidis, and Listeria monocytogenes. The biosensor is an experimental format that, if successful, would allow convenient simultaneous detection of target bacteria (Zhang Xiaoguang, Sachiko Tsuji, Ken-ichi Honjoh, and Takahisa Miyamoto).
Direct irradiation with LED has bactericidal effects on E. coli O157:H7, S. Typhimurium, and L. monocytogenes dependent on the pH of the medium and LED wavelength – blue is better than green! (Vinayak Ghate, Leong Ai Ling, and Yuk Hyun-Gyun).
Chitosan is a natural antimicrobial and antilisterial agent. Electron microscopy suggested that chitosan kills the bacteria by interfering with cell membrane permeability and causing leakage of cell contents (Juthamas Tantala, Titima Sukmark, Masubon Thongngam, Kanjana Thumanu, Pornchai Rachtanapun, Chitsiri Rachtanapun).
Establishment of a microbial risk assessment and food safety system for the Singapore retail sector by the National Environment Agency (NEA). The NEA is a government agency that has brought together regulatory activity and research to develop and deliver a risk-based inspection and education service. A unique feature of this relates to the cultural popularity of ready-to-eat food bought from stalls, which have special hygiene challenges (Ramona A  Gutierrez and Ng Lee Ching).
Site visit to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore, which is the national food safety agency. Singapore imports 90% of its food from all over the world and has extremely well-resourced labs to test for chemical contaminants, additives and preservatives, drug residues, pesticide residues, food pathogens, foodborne parasites, physical quality, GMO, and other toxins. It also provides export certification, accreditation of food businesses, and food safety education; implements labelling and advertisement regulations and food recalls; and has a variety of roles relating to the animals and pet sector.

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Report summarising the outcomes of 2012/13 of the FPS A&NZ

The FPS A&NZ have made available the final report summarising the outcomes from the project “A New Collaborative Paradigm for Fresh Produce Safety”. This project was funding by the University of Sydney and the Produce Marketing Association Australia and New Zealand (PMA A-NZ) with matched funding from the Australian Government, accessed through Horticulture Australia Limited.
You can download the report here and read about the outcomes of the many activities conducted in the year.

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August 30 “Ask the FDA” webinar on proposed FSMA rules

On July 26, 2013, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced the publication of two additional proposed rules under the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA):

Foreign Supplier Verification Programs for Importers of Food for Humans and Animals: In this proposed rule, importers would be required to perform certain risk-based activities to verify that food imported into the U.S. has been produced with the same food safety standards that are required of U.S. producers.
Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors: This proposed rule aims to establish a comprehensive, credible and reliable program of oversight based on third-party audits and certification of foreign food facilities to help the FDA make decisions regarding the admissibility of imported foods.

Who do the proposed rules impact?
If you export produce to the U.S. you are likely covered under one or both of the proposals and you need to know how these rules could impact your business and your supply chain partners.
On Friday, 30 August 2013 at 5:00 AM AEST (Thursday, August 29 at 3:00 pm US Eastern Time), PMA Global will be broadcasting a free webinar from the US with the FDA focusing on the two latest proposed rules: Foreign Supplier Verification Program and Accreditation of Third Party Auditors. The FDA will review the key points of each proposed rule. Joining FDA officials on the call to answer your questions will be PMA’s Chief Science & Technology Officer, Dr. Bob Whitaker, Dr. Jim Gorny, Vice President of Food Safety & Technology and Tom O’Brien, PMA’s representative in Washington D.C.
Just how will these rules impact your business? And how can you make your voice heard during the FDA comment period? Here are 3 simple ways you can gain more information and be prepared:

Register here for next week’s free webinar to learn more about the proposed rules and to get answers to your questions from the FDA and PMA’s food safety experts.
Visit PMA’s FSMA resource page for full details on the Food Safety Modernization Act and other useful resources, including how you will be able to provide comments on the proposed rules once they are published.
Join PMA’s FSMA community on PMA Xchange to post questions and engage with PMA staff experts and members on this important topic. We’ll also be posting updates on PMA’s Facebook page and through Twitter using hashtags: #FSMA and #freshproduce

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10 Lessons Learned at the 2013 CPS Symposium

The Center for Produce Safety (CPS) held its fourth annual research symposium in Rochester, NY at the Wegmans Conference Center on June 25-26, 2013. The symposium featured sixteen CPS-funded research programs and discussions on what the research means. While the full technical reports for these research programs can be found on the CPS website, PMA’s Dr. Bob Whitaker, chief science and technology officer, and Dr. Jim Gorny, vice president food safety and technology, translated the research to identify ten key lessons learned from the symposium.
2013 CPS Symposium: 10 Lessons Learned

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2013 CPS Research Symposium resources now available

A number of resources from the 4th annual Center for Produce Safety Research Symposium have now been made available via the CPS website:

Symposium presentations including one by Bill Marler – “The Evolving Legal and Financial Realities of Produce Food Safety: What it means for you”- CPS website. See the full list of Resources
Final reports, CPS funded research – CPS website; Awards list . Reports are noted on right hand side of the page.
CPS 2013 Research Posters – CPS website; Poster Sessions

Stay tuned for the key learnings from the event.

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Message from the CPS Research Symposium: Safe food is a commitment from all businesses.

When it comes to food safety, solutions are usually common-sense best practices and without absolute commitment from top management, no company in the fresh produce supply chain can achieve adequate food safety measures. 
That was the key message of the fourth annual CPS Research Symposium, recently held in Rochester, NY. Approximately 3o0 attendees took part in 2 days of presentations and panel discussions with experts from government, fresh produce companies and academia offered on-the-spot interpretation of the food safety research.
“The search for answers to food safety questions is not just the right thing to do, it is the best risk management tool we have,” said Bryan Silbermann, president and chief executive officer for the Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del.
Seattle attorney,  Bill Marler commented in his keynote address to the delegates of the conference “When you’re doing the right thing for your business, it’s right for your customers. When it’s right for your customers it’s good for your business.”
The Symposium covered a huge range of topics, the first day dedicated to Listeria. Also covered was research on compost and agricultural practices, water quality for irrigation and post harvest practices, pathogen transference in pre-harvest, harvest and packing procedures and much more!
The research presented at the Symposium will be made available on the CPS website very soon.
To read more about what happened, watch short interviews from the Symposium and find out a bit more about some of the research, please click on the articles below.
The Grower: CPS research runs the gamut from compost to UV light, includes video.
The Grower: Rapid tests under development improve pathogen testing
The Packer: Food safety requires commitment throughout supply chain

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Were you spotted at the Food Safety Hub at PMA Fresh Connections, 2013?

Fresh Produce Safety Australia and New Zealand (FPS A&NZ) were proud to join several key organisations to  host the first-ever Food Safety Hub, at PMA Fresh Connections Conference and Trade Show in Sydney last week. The Food Safety Hub was a one-stop-shop providing information for delegates wanting to know more about food safety for fresh produce. Were you spotted at the Food Safety Hub?
With thanks to PMA Fresh Connections for providing us with these images.
FPS A&NZ wishes to thank the following key organisations for their participation in the Food Safety Hub:

AUSQUAL Pty Ltd. – A certification body accredited by JAS-ANZ, providing quality management and food safety (HACCP) management systems.
Freshcare – Australia’s on farm assurance program offering training, implementation, certification and support programs.
GS1 Australia – Administers the global GS1 System of supply chain standards in Australia across 22 industry sectors, including the launch of the new GS1 GoScan iPhone App providing consumers with authorised and trusted food product information, and the new GS1DataBar to improve management of fresh foods.
BSI incorporating NCSI – Offering businesses certification, risk management, business improvement and assurance.
SAI Global – Providing information services and solutions for managing risk, achieving compliance and driving business improvement.
SGS Australia – A global company, provide industry leading inspection, verification, testing and certification services.
TQA Australia – Key management consultants to agribusiness in Australia, providing advice in a range of disciplines including food safety and quality assurance, environmental assurance, occupational health and safety, strategic planning and professional development.

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Fresh produce safety important to industry: recognising young professional with award.

The entire fruit and vegetable industry shares the responsibility of providing customers with healthy and safe food and recent young professional award demonstrates the importance fresh produce safety has in the industry.
The Australian Institute for Agricultural Science and Technology (AIAST) awarded the 2013 Young Professional in Agricultural Industry Award to Erika Watson, Fresh Produce Safety Project Officer at the University of Sydney. 
In this role, Erika has been working towards the establishment a Fresh Produce Safety Centre, which will be dedicated to improving food safety for the fresh fruit and vegetable industries.
FPS A&NZ is a collaborative project funded by PMA A-NZ and the University of Sydney with matched funds from the government through HAL, and has been maintaining momentum towards this goal.
Outcomes have included a national forum with guest speakers from The Center for Produce Safety, UC Davis and PMA US, outreach activities such as the launch of the FPS A&NZ website, the monthly newsletter, an industry survey, and presentations at the Freshcare workshop, identifying research priorities and a call for research proposals and finally the inaugural Food Safety Hub at PMA Fresh Connections where delegates can find out more about the proposed Fresh Produce Safety Centre.
To read the full story about Erika and the AIAST award, click here.

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Visit the FOOD SAFETY HUB at PMA Fresh Connections

Don’t miss the FOOD SAFETY HUB at PMA Fresh Connections this year!
 PMA Fresh Connections Conference and Trade Show will be held at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre, in Sydney’s Darling Harbour from 11-13th June 2013.
The time is fast approaching, the trade show opens on the 12th June 2013 and the Food Safety Hub is bound to be buzzing.
Food safety and traceability are very important and highly relevant to all businesses in the fresh produce supply chain. Be sure to visit the Food Safety Hub to get all you need to know or contact the organisations on the booth to arrange a meeting at the Trade Show.

BSI Incorporating NCSI

GS1 Australia
SAI Global
SGS Australia
TQA Australia

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