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Posts from the ‘Latest News’ Category

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.

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Fresh Produce Tampering

How to prevent, prepare, recover

As published in the June 2019 edition of Produce Plus, Jessica Purbrick says we’ve learnt a lot since September 2018.

Whilst food tampering isn’t new, what is new is the sudden and unprecedented number of copycat occurrences that found a platform and voice across social and traditional media.

What we saw in Australia and New Zealand after the reporting of the ‘needles-in-strawberries’ incidents was the rapid update of copycat behaviour by individuals seeking to gain recognition and social media trending hits.

These 2018 incidents proved how unprepared many organisations are in dealing with the issue. We have all learnt from these events. These learnings provide a strong platform to reflect on what worked well and what didn’t, and to allow future issues to be managed quickly and from a place of knowledge, not reaction.

The challenge now for the fresh produce industry is to prepare, create and deliver a robust incident response plan that averts a crisis which harms consumer confidence (locally and in our global markets) in our fresh produce food safety practices.

Read the full article here.

Foreign object contamination of fresh produce

There can be unintended additional contents, also known as physical contaminants and foreign objects, in fruit and vegetable purchases. Growers aim to eliminate these from the fresh produce sent to retailers and processors. Most retail and food service specifications have a zero tolerance for pests, dead or alive, or other physical contaminants. Consumers also have a low tolerance of additional contents.

Physical contaminants is a broad category that includes but is not limited to soil, stones, sticks, weeds, insects, frogs, glass, nails, plastic and rubber, pens, pins, paper clips and jewellery. Some are a social media novelty while others have genuine injury potential. Some come from the environment and others are from harvest, handling and packing. Some can result in withdrawals, recalls and negative media coverage.

A series of Q&A’s below address the topic of contamination of pests and objects.

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Consumer expectations met through new fresh produce food safety guidelines

“The Guidelines for Fresh Produce Food Safety 2019 ensure Australian produce has the highest safety standards of any produce anywhere in the world”, said Peter Tuohey, Chair, Melbourne Market Authority.

Launching the 2019 version of the Guidelines today at Hort Connections in Melbourne, Mr Tuohey acknowledged that Australian horticulture had seen some damage in recent years through contamination and tampering that impacted producers, retailers and exporters.

“However it is by continuing to evolve and change the standards within these Guidelines that we will meet our consumer expectations”.

“These Guidelines set out the procedures and steps to prevent or deal with contaminations, and covers a comprehensive list of practices and potential hazards to assist growers, packers, transporters, wholesalers and retailers along the supply chain”.

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US: Industry members, food safety veterans urge companies to invest in traceability

Produce Retailer: Panelists at the Center for Produce Safety Symposium described better traceback as essential to containing foodborne illness outbreaks and urged companies to invest in that infrastructure. The somber and frank discussion, moderated by Produce Marketing Association CEO Cathy Burns, started with a review of the recent spate of E. coli outbreaks linked to romaine lettuce. Burns asked each member of the group to share his biggest takeaway from the romaine debacle.

AU: Mind your businessWorld Food Safety Day 2019 puts spotlight on good food safety practices

Food Standards Australia New Zealand: Tomorrow’s first ever World Food Safety Day is a reminder for food businesses and consumers alike of the importance of good food safety practices. The theme for the 2019 event is ‘Food Safety: Everyone’s Business’. Food Standards Australia New Zealand acting Chief Executive Officer Dr Scott Crerar says food safety can’t ever be taken for granted. “There are still more than 4 million estimated cases of foodborne illness in Australia each year and everyone has a role to play in reducing that number," Dr Crerar said.

DE: Carrefour says blockchain tracking boosting sales of some products

Reuters: French retailer Carrefour SA has seen sales boosted by the use of blockchain ledger technology to track meat, milk and fruit from farms to stores and will extend it to more products to increase shopper trust, an executive said on Monday.

US: Recovering From A Pathogen-Related Recall

Global Food Safety Resource: More than half of the secret to recovering from a pathogen-related product recall lies in being prepared before it even happens, according to Keith Warriner, a professor of food science at Canada’s University of Guelph. “Have a recall team that includes someone with decision-making authority,” he says, noting that, depending on the company, the team should also have staff from quality assurance, production, marketing and distribution.

NZ: Yersinia infection still a mystery after 2014 outbreak in NZ

Stuff.co.nz: New Zealanders were surprised to learn that those forces for good in human health – lettuce and carrots – were identified as a common link in the outbreak of Yersinia infections that made at least 220 people sick and sent 70 to hospital in 2014. [T]he source of the New Zealand outbreak was never proven, and this was mainly because of the difficulty of tracing all the ingredients of a mixed salad.

Horticulture challenges the current state of food safety

The Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia & New Zealand (FPSC A-NZ) is leading the conversation with Australia and New Zealand’s top horticultural growers, packers, manufacturers, retailers, supply chain experts and academics in the food safety arena.

The Centre is bringing together over 30 key influencers in Australia and New Zealand’s horticultural and innovation sectors to challenge the current thinking on fresh produce food safety compliance.

The Innovation Forum – the first of its kind in horticulture – will see industry experts be challenged by the emerging capabilities of new technologies both homegrown in Australia and New Zealand as well as from overseas.

“This forum, on Thursday 13 June, is our opportunity to delve into what the future of fresh produce food safety compliance looks like beyond 2025”, said Jessica Purbrick, Executive Officer, FPSC A-NZ.

“It is time we had this conversation across our industry and bring in the innovation experts, outside of our natural space to help us find solutions”.

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