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AU-NZ: Primary Production and Processing Requirements for High-Risk Horticulture

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has called for submissions to consider primary production and processing requirements to address food safety for high-risk horticultural products. Submissions are now open and close on 18 March 2020

More information is here.

FSANZ: “FSANZ has raised a proposal, Primary Production and Processing Requirements for High-risk Horticulture (P1052) to consider the development of a primary production and processing (PPP) standard for high-risk horticulture as part of a broader review of chapter 3 and 4 of the Food Standards Code.

We are currently seeking comment from the community, growers, industry and other interested parties on a first call for submissions. The period for comment closes at 6pm (Canberra time) Wednesday 18 March 2020.

This call for submissions will seek information on the current environment and potential options for regulatory and non-regulatory measures to manage high risk horticulture.”

FPSC encourages industry to review the documentation provided by FSANZ, and to make submissions as appropriate, by the deadline of 18 March. To make a submission, visit here.

FPSC will provide updates on this issue over the coming weeks.

FPSC A&NZ monthly newsletter out now!

The February 2020 edition of the Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia & New Zealand newsletter has just been released!

Click here to view the latest newsletter.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in the Fresh Produce Safety community by signing up for the monthly newsletter.

Fact Sheet: Animal Impact on Produce Safety

FPSC A&NZ has launched a fact sheet on the impact of animals on the risk of foodborne illness in the fresh produce sector. The fact sheet covers the food safety risks associated with both wildlife and intensive animal production. The fact sheet also outlines recommended practices for managing the co-existence of animal and crop production.

The fact sheet was written by researchers from the ARC Training Centre for Food Safety in the Fresh Produce Industry, FPSC Board Member Professor Robyn McConchie from the University of Sydney and Dr Michele Jay-Russell from UC Davis’ Western Center for Food Safety.

The fact sheet can be accessed here.

FPSC A&NZ monthly newsletter out now!

The December 2019 edition of the Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia & New Zealand newsletter has just been released!

Click here to view the latest newsletter.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in the Fresh Produce Safety community by signing up for the monthly newsletter.

Fresh Produce Safety Centre announces two new FPSC Directors

The Board of Directors of the Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia & New Zealand today announced the appointment of two new Directors, confirmed at the AGM of the FPSC A&NZ held on 27 November 2019.

The two new FPSC A&NZ Dr Sharon Jones, OneHarvest General Manager Technical and Dr Rachel Kilmister, R&D Programme Manager, New Zealand Apples and Pears Incorporated.

The Chairman of the FPSC, Mr Michael Worthington, said: “These two highly-qualified members will strengthen the Board of Directors of FPSC, and we are delighted they have joined us. We are also pleased that we now have equal representation of women and men on the Board. The Board expressed thanks to all the applicants for their interest in the work of FPSC A&NZ.”

The Board also thanked the outgoing FPSC A&NZ Directors, Roger Gilbertson and Joseph Ekman.

Chairman, Mr Worthington, said: “We also send our sincere thanks to outgoing Directors, Roger Gilbertson and Joseph Ekman. Joe has been with the FPSC since its inception in 2014, while Roger joined in 2016. We thank them for their longstanding support and commitment to fresh produce food safety in Australia and New Zealand.”

Further information about the Board of the FPSC A&NZ is here.

 

2025 AGENDA: The 2025 Fresh Produce Food Safety Innovation Agenda

Five years on from the inception of the Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia & New Zealand, we’ve achieved strong collaboration by bringing together, in a non-competitive space, the key influencers and networks from across the globe in fresh produce food safety.

With rich online resources of interpreted leading research, articles and tools, we have actively developed partnerships beyond our networks to bring to the fresh produce sector the best opportunity to tackle emerging food safety issues.

The Guidelines for Fresh Produce Food Safety continue to represent the most recent research-based evidence and thinking in food safety. As the custodians of the Guidelines, we ensure they are readily available as a practical resource for growers, packers and along the supply chain.

We have also developed research partnerships – ARC Training Centre in Fresh Produce Food Safety, Freshcare Limited and Applied Horticultural Research – to undertake Australian based research that provides local evidence to inform domestic and export requirements such as withholding periods for animal manures, composts and irrigation water. These findings are segue directly into the biennial updates of the Guidelines.

Key Food Safety Challenges

An emerging food safety issue is the effect of climate change. It is a theme that is gaining momentum with growers, industry bodies and the research community who are starting to delve into the ramifications on food safety of unpredictable weather patterns and climate conditions.

Without the historical intelligence and records growers rely upon to enforce their decisions, we are racing to create the knowledge bank that will allow safe fresh produce to flourish in this new and changing era.

We are responding to this challenge by undertaking global desktop research in partnership with The University of Sydney to better understand the food safety risks associated with a range of climatic conditions. Initial findings from this research are due to be completed in November 2019.

Consumer scrutiny about fresh produce traceability and food safety are increasingly a challenge for the fresh produce sector in Australia and New Zealand. With incidences from listeria to needles to frogs and spiders in packaged goods, consumers are uncertain about the robustness of the supply chain from farm to retailer.

2025 Agenda: The 2025 Fresh Produce Food Safety Innovation Agenda is our response to this challenge.

2025 Agenda

In June 2019, we hosted 30 key influencers from Australia and New Zealand’s horticultural and innovation sectors to a one-day Innovation Forum. The result was a mandate that FPSC A-NZ lead the conversation and activities to investigate opportunities.

Tasked with empowering the Australian and New Zealand fresh produce industry with novel and innovative systems and processes that leads to safer fresh produce for consumers, the 2025 Agenda focuses on transformational risk management in fresh produce food safety by tapping into indigenous and global talent within fresh produce, the research community, and the technology and innovation experts outside our natural space to help find solutions.

This style of thinking is our opportunity to delve into what the future of fresh produce food safety looks like beyond 2025. We are at the start-line of the opportunity to write the future for fresh produce and reaffirm consumer trust in our systems and processes.

The initial scope (Stage One) of the 2025 Agenda is to undertake:

  1. A desktop analysis to produce a review of food safety compliance systems across the globe with an understanding of what components can be used in A-NZ that are transformational.
  2. A study of the food safety audit to map a typical compliance system leading to the identification of process improvements at each stage, both as a technology solution and best practice human input.

Timing

The initial scoping activities will be completed by March 2020.

Upon completion of these activities, broad-spectrum industry engagement to peak industry bodies and growers, scheme owners, and government will occur to allow for full transparency of the process to-date, consultation on the findings and further opportunities for involvement.

Stage Two of the 2025 Agenda is set to begin in mid-2020.

Partners

Key stakeholders involved in the 2025 Agenda are: Perfection Fresh, Costa Group, T&G Global, RockIt, Amazon Web Services, Vodafone, IBM Food Trust, CHEP, Escavox, HarvestMark/Trimble, Intela Data Science, Merieux Nutrisciences, Freshcare Limited, GS1, HARPS, Optimum Standards, University of Queensland, and New Zealand Food Safety Science & Research Centre.

Download a copy of the 2025 Agenda here. For further information about involvement and opportunities please complete the form below.

Creating a Practical Tool for Risk-Based Sampling

 

Our goal is to ultimately help growers do a better job of in-field testing for foodborne pathogens, so the growers can continue to improve on the safety of their produce,” Stasiewicz said. “Risk-based sampling is something we know the industry is trying to move toward. If we know there are locations in the field that are at higher risk of contamination than others, we take a higher number of samples in those locations to detect potential contamination of the field.

“We’re building what hopefully is an easy-to-use interface so growers or other interested parties can evaluate whatever sampling program they want to apply.”

Many programs typically involve collecting 60 samples from a field, combining them in a container and creating what’s known as an n60 composite. But the exact location from where the samples are collected varies, depending on the program. In a generic program, for example, a person may walk straight and collect samples every 100 yards. Another plan may involve a person walking a “Z” pattern as they collect samples. But those sampling plans don’t necessarily focus on areas of the field that have a higher risk of contamination, such as under power lines where birds may sit, close to open water sources or near signs of obvious animal intrusions, Stasiewicz said.

Further details about this project can be found here.

2019 Conference Summary

A Day in Brief

Environmental Change: Implications for Fresh Produce Food Safety was the theme of the 2019 annual fresh produce food safety conference hosted recently by the FPSC A-NZ in Sydney.

The day was opened by Michael Johnsen MP, NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture on behalf of the Minister. The NSW Government is pushing ahead with an agenda that will influence climate change to build resilience in the agriculture sector.

Read the conference summary here.

 

USA: Researchers confirm flies can transfer E. coli from feedlots to produce fields

 

Along with feedlot dust blowing in the wind and surface irrigation water flowing adjacent to feedlots, flies captured in leafy greens plots near feedlots are capable of transferring E. coli from animal operations to produce fields.

Set for publication in August in the “Journal of Food Protection,” new research from a team of experts links contamination of leafy greens with E. coli from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), also referred to as feedlots, via “pest flies.”  

“Most fly isolates were the same predominant pulsed-field gel electrophoresis types found in feedlot surface manure and leafy greens, suggesting a possible role for flies in transmitting E. coli O157:H7 to the leafy greens,” according to the research abstract.

Read more

Review of Food Standards Code

Review of Food Standards Code chapters 3 and 4 – Food Safety Management Requirements

FSANZ is reviewing chapters 3 and 4 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) to ensure a consistent and current approach to through-chain food safety management in Australia. Requirements in chapters 3 and 4 only apply in Australia.

In June, the FPSC A-NZ submitted a response, in summary, below.

  • The Review is limited to discussion in the foodservice sector and the possibility of a primary production and processing standard (PPPS) for high-risk horticultural products.
  • We welcome the current approach that applies a risk-based approach to clearly define the product scope for a possible standard.
  • The industry released new Guidelines for Fresh Produce Food Safety 2019 in June.
  • Need for caution about concentrating on products rather than the processes used to produce them.

Read more