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FPSC A&NZ monthly newsletter out now!

The August 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.

Key learnings from the CPS 2020 Research Symposium

The Center for Produce Safety in the US has prepared key learnings summaries of its Annual Research Symposium, with five sessions held over June and July 2020.

The full set of Key Learnings from the CPS Research Symposium is here. The following text is drawn from the CPS Key Learnings:

During Session 1 held on June 23, 2020, the Symposium explored the use of computer-based modelling to help address two burning issues for the produce industry: understanding potential Listeria growth and persistence in whole produce commodities and the development of sampling strategies to support the validity of assumptions surrounding microbial testing needs and design of acceptable protocols (Key Learnings Session I).

In Session 2, the Symposium expanded the knowledge base on Listeria monocytogenes and its persistence and growth on specific commodities and fresh-cut products and examined novel methods to control Listeria growth on food contact surfaces (Key Learnings Session II).

In Session 3, the Research Symposium explored projects that took wholistic, systems approaches to solving challenges with pest intrusion into leafy greens fields, pathogen transference on co-managed farms and the impact of traits associated with concepts of soil health on pathogen persistence. It also examined Cyclospora presence in the irrigation canal systems in the Yuma, AZ production region (Key Learnings Session III).

Session 4 featured the use of genomics and metagenomics to address challenges in identifying new or revisited indicators and index testing-targets of human viral pathogens that may ultimately be used in the produce industry, the distribution and relatedness of Listeria species in the U.S., and the use of that information to better understand source-risk related to facilities and product, identification of competitors of Listeria monocytogenes that might control that organism in composts, and build our knowledge base of bacterial pathogen persistence and rates of genetic diversification in the Yuma and Salinas vegetable production regions (Key Learnings Session IV).

Session 5 featured research describing the “die-off” rates of human pathogens in agricultural water from three locations around the world, the persistence of pathogens in shade-house production environments, pathogen persistence in wash water systems and the potential role
of damaged cells to contaminate washed products, the efficacy of irrigation water sanitation and the potential role of sediments in canal systems as reservoirs of human pathogens (Key Learnings Session V).

FIAL & AIFST: Food Safety Governance For Directors

FIAL and AIFST are hosting a Food Safety Governance for Directors workshop on 15 September 2020.

The workshop, run via Zoom, is designed to provide a governance overview for Directors, Executives and senior management of food manufacturing and supply businesses based in Australia to support the production and sale of safe food both domestically and overseas.

The workshop will help directors to understand the importance of food safety governance, their responsibilities and role in assuring food safety performance. It will also discuss the tools to monitor and verify food safety system performance and the essentials of good food safety governance. More here.

Fresh Produce Safety Centre announces ALDI as a Gold supporter

The Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia & New Zealand (FPSC) today announced that ALDI has joined the FPSC as a Gold supporter.

The Chairman of the FPSC, Mr Michael Worthington, said: “We are thrilled to have ALDI join the FPSC and we warmly welcome them on board. Having ALDI as an FPSC supporter expands our industry engagement, particularly in the all-important fresh produce retail space. We now have support from a very high percentage of the retail sector, providing us with strong platform to ensure that food safety in fresh produce is paramount from the farm right through to the consumer.”

“The support that ALDI is providing the FPSC demonstrates that the industry values the work we are doing. It also demonstrates the high importance that the fresh produce industry places on food safety,” Mr Worthington said.

ALDI’s Quality Assurance Director, Mr Scott Tyler, said: “ALDI’s emphasis is on providing safe, high quality fresh produce. We see the value that the FPSC is providing to the whole industry in promoting and enhancing food safety. We also believe that the FPSC has an important role to play in increasing business emphasis on promoting a culture of food safety across the board – from mum and dad growers right through to the major retailers like ALDI.”

“We are looking forward to working with the team at the FPSC on a range of issues relating to fresh produce safety. What the FPSC is striving for aligns with our own ethos: safe fresh produce, 365 days a year,” added Scott.

ALDI Australia opened its first stores in January 2001 at Bankstown Airport and Marrickville, with a core range of 600 products supplied by 174 business partners. Today ALDI operates more than 550 stores in six states and territories, directly employing more than 13,000 people and working with Australian business partners each day. Since opening in 2001, ALDI has contributed an estimated $23 billion to Australia’s gross domestic product. Find more about ALDI here.

ALDI will be joining the Fresh Produce Safety Centre at the Gold supporter level.

AU: New traceability program to build trust in Australia’s food supply chains

Deakin University: Australia’s food safety systems will be strengthened by the delivery of a new national implementation program to help track and trace food products from farm to fork in domestic and export markets.

The industry-led program, co-designed by Deakin University’s Centre for Supply Chain and Logistics (CSCL), includes an Australian-first Implementing Food Traceability Guide, plus product specific guides and industry demonstrations that will enable greater visibility along the entire food supply chain. More here.

AU: $4M for agricultural traceability grants

Sixteen projects will share $4 million in funding under round 1 of the Traceability Grants Program.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud says the projects are sharing in the funding under the first round of the Australian Government’s $7 million Traceability Grants Program.

One of the projects involves the trial of technology to trace fresh produce through export supply chains, with the melon industry used as a pilot.

Read the Minister’s media release here, and more about the Traceability Grants Program here.

AU: New paper on environmental drivers for pathogenic persistence

A paper has been published on “​Environmental Drivers for Persistence of Escherichia coli and Salmonella in Manure-Amended Soils: A Meta-Analysis” by Dao Tran and colleagues at the ARC Training Centre for Food Safety in the Fresh Produce Industry.

The paper, which appeared in the Journal of Food Protection in July, examines 42 primary research studies on pathogen persistence from manure-amended soils, and concludes that “Based on the significant variation observed among individual field studies, it is unlikely the risks associated with the use of manure amendments containing high levels of enteric bacterial pathogens (such as in raw manure) in soils may be solely managed by a uniform exclusion period. Management of the risks associated with the use of soils amended with raw manures is best achieved through risk-based approaches incorporating differences in climate, soil management, and initial levels of bacteria during application.”

While it is recommended that only certified composted organic amendments are used in the production of fresh produce, the message is clear: risk-based approaches taking into account local environmental factors must be used by growers for determining appropriate exclusion periods after using untreated manures. More here

Norway: Spinach suspected in Norwegian Yersinia outbreak

Food Safety News: The source of a national Yersinia outbreak in recent weeks in Norway that affected 23 people is believed to have been salad with spinach or baby spinach.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (Folkehelseinstituttet) said the Yersinia enterocolitica O3 outbreak was considered to be over.

It started in mid-May and people fell sick from mid to late May.  There are 15 women and eight men affected aged 2 to 58 years old. More here.

US: Fast detection of Cyclospora cayetanensis in berries

Fresh Plaza: The consumption of raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries has increased worldwide in recent years because these fruits are considered an important source of antioxidant compounds. Unfortunately, consumption of berries is associated with a risk of foodborne parasites, such as Cyclospora cayetanensis.

In the USA and Canada, many cyclosporiasis cases have been linked to consumption of berries, while at the farm level, the presence of this human pathogen in berries is directly associated with the presence of the parasite in soil. For these reasons, it is fundamental that producers monitor the presence of this pathogen on farms and packing facilities.

Conventionally, detection of C. cayetanensis in clinical and environmental samples is based on identification of oocysts by microscopy, following modified acid fast staining or by UV-light autofluorescence under ultraviolet, this technique is time-consuming, non-specific, and lacks sensitivity. To overcome these issues, food producing industry requires a molecular method able to detect a low oocyst concentration (40–1500 oocyst per gram) as found in food and environmental samples. More.

FPSC A&NZ monthly newsletter out now!

The July 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.