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Posts from the ‘News’ Category

US: Austrian Hepatitis A cases match strain in Swedish outbreak

Food Safety News: Austria has become part of a multi-country Hepatitis A outbreak with 31 confirmed cases linked to frozen strawberries imported from Poland. The outbreak of hepatitis A virus (HAV) is connected to the one recently declared over in Sweden which affected 20 people in six counties. Of these cases, 17 were confirmed and three were probable. Dates of symptom onset ranged from May 30 to July 10. Ages ranged from nine to 92 years and 13 out of 20 were women.

NZ: Coming soon: Hidden Dangers, by Dr Robert Tauxe


AU: Fact sheet reviews risk management for redbacks in broccoli crops

Hort Innovation: A new levy-funded resource produced by AHR looks at the risks of redback spider contamination of broccoli and offers risk management strategies. Since 2016 there have been numerous customer complaints about redback spiders (Latrodectus hasselti) in broccoli. Complaints have mainly come between January and June, and from customers in all Australian states. This suggests that this is not an issue for a single production area, but can occur anywhere that broccoli is grown.

Food safety conference delivers key learnings to the fresh produce industry

The theme of this year’s Fresh Produce Safety Conference, hosted by the Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia & New Zealand in Sydney last week was ‘Food Safety: It’s Your Responsibility’.

Bringing together over 150 leading food producers and manufacturers, packers, distributors and retailers, students and researchers, the event confirmed food safety and compliance as top priorities for the industry. Read more

Listeria in fresh produce. Are we any the wiser?

‘The role of food safety staff must go beyond compliance and keeping the regulatory guys happy,’ said Suresh DeCosta, Director of Food Safety, Lipman Family Farms (USA) and Technical Committee, Center for Produce Safety (USA), at the 5th Annual Fresh Produce Safety Conference in Sydney last week.

The number of deaths from the 2017 listeriosis outbreak in South Africa reached 216, making it the most lethal outbreak in history. The source was cured meats.

On a much smaller scale, Australia recently experienced lethal outbreaks traced to cheese and rockmelons. While the number of recorded hospitalised cases in Australia is low – around 70 a year – Listeria continues to be a major problem for the food industry, and a priority theme for the Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia & New Zealand.

Microbiologist Dr Robert Premier explained there are 17 species of Listeria but most are harmless and only two are implicated in human infections. Read more

AU: Scientists now know why this orange turned purple out of the blue

ABC News: Scientists finally know why an orange purchased from a fruit and veg shop in suburban Brisbane turned purple, hours after it was cut open. The answer? Naturally occurring anthocyanins in the orange reacted with the iron particles found on the recently sharpened knife which was used to cut it, causing it to go purple. "These pigments are not known to represent any risk to human health."

Fresh Produce Safety Conference 2018

Fresh Produce Safety Centre Conference 2018
Wednesday 26 September, 2018
University of Sydney

The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Food Safety – It’s Your Responsibility’.

Food safety is one of the most critical issues facing the food industry today. Getting it wrong can be dangerous and sometimes fatal to consumers as well as ruinous to growers, processors, suppliers and retailers alike.

The increasing complexity of the food supply chain, and the ongoing challenges of globalisation and technology, have multiplied the risks within the food sector, while the threat of deliberate contamination (as in this month’s strawberry scare) represents another challenge for both businesses and regulators.

Listeria remains a menace to the food industry and the 2018 Fresh Produce Safety Centre Conference opens with an important  session chaired by food safety veteran Richard Bennett that asks: ‘Listeria outbreaks: Are we any the wiser?’ Microbiologist and food scientist Dr Robert Premier will explain why Listeria is such a lethal danger to consumers and what makes it different to other pathogens. Dr Craig Shadbolt from the NSW Department of Primary Industries will present a case study based on this year’s Rombola melon incident, in which six Australians died of listeria, and other cases around the world, including the 2012 Jensen Farms outbreak in the United States that claimed more than 30 lives.

Training is the key to an effective food safety culture and Brendan Hayes from Coles and AUSVEG’s Andrew Shaw will offer a retailer’s and grower’s view of food safety training.

What happens when things do go wrong? Kashif Ahmed of Symbio Laboratories will give practical advice on laboratory testing, explaining the journey from sample selection to test result and asking, ‘What does the result tell you about the source of the outbreak?’ Steve Hather of the Recall Institute explores the worst-case scenario and asks ‘Can your business survive a recall?’

International perspectives will come from Dr Sylvain Charlebois, Canadian author of five books and one of the world’s most cited scholars in food supply chain management and food value chains, who will address the issue of food fraud; and from Suresh DeCosta, the Director of Food Safety for Lipman Family Farms in Illinois, USA, whose keynote address will focus on international developments in food safety.

In the conference’s final session, Ruth McLennan of Dairy Farm and FSBC director Catherine Richardson will examine food safety from an exporter’s perspective. With the rockmelon incident still fresh in the memory, and footage on the nightly news of strawberries being ploughed into the ground, Ruth and Catherine attempt to answer the crucial question, ‘Is Australia-New Zealand’s reputation for safe food at risk?’

View the full program at the Fresh Produce Safety Centre A-NZ website.

Registrations have now closed, however registration on the day will be available between 8.15 and 8.45 am

Media inquiries:
Stephen Fujiwara
Senior Administration Officer
02 86271058
0423 152 800

AU: Strawberries sold in Woolworths found with sewing needles embedded inside

ABC News: Queensland chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young has advised anyone who bought two brands of strawberries — Berry Licious and Berry Obsession — since the start of last week in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria to throw them out. She said the contaminated brands came from a farm in south-east Queensland, and were sold to Woolworths, but could also have been distributed to other stores.

US: History, development, and current status of food safety systems worldwide

Oxford University Press: Immediately following the 1993 Jack-in-the-Box outbreak caused by Escherichia coli O157:H7, the United States began to look for a more robust regulatory food safety system than previously employed. In the same time frame in the United Kingdom, an outbreak of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) eroded public trust in the food safety systems of Western Europe. As a result, there was increased interest in implementing the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system worldwide.

FR: How to Strengthen Your Culture of Food Safety

Global Food Safety Initiative: According to the Global Food Safety Initiative’s (GFSI) new guidance document, a strong food safety culture depends on five key dimensions: Vision and Mission, People, Consistency, Adaptability, and Hazards and Risk Awareness. Does your food safety culture leverage all of these critical components?