Posts from the "Latest News" category

GS1: Traceability, food safety should be supply chain priorities

Traceability makes recalls more efficient and gets the correct information into consumers’ hands much more quickly, writes GS1 Australia’s Andrew Steele, and the lack of an effective traceability system is one of the main reasons for food recalls that escalate into crisis situations. A report released last year by an expert group in the European Commission made recommendations for improving traceability with global standards, bar codes and other tools, and programs to educate consumers. “Enhanced product traceability, faster recalls and improved consumer safety should be at the top of the agenda when an organisation is detailing its supply chain process,” Steele writes.
To read the full article, please click here.

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Chemicals and Food Safety

Confused by the chemical jargon? Don’t understand the registration process?

Agricultural chemicals, whether they be for conventional production systems, organic production systems or both, must be registered by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) before they can be legally supplied, sold or used in Australia.

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New Zealand strengthens food safety law in wake of botulism scare

New Zealand legislators unanimously passed a new food safety law on Tuesday, paving the way for a faster response to crises such as the false botulism scare that saw a global recall of dairy products last year.
"The new Food Act will put in place a risk-based approach, where regulatory requirements are based on the extent and nature of the food safety risks associated with particular kinds of businesses," Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye said in a statement.
The Act also contained provisions concerning recall powers and other powers that may be used in a food safety response.
"It was important to bring these provisions in to force as soon as possible so that government could respond to a major food safety event if one arose tomorrow," Kaye said.
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Fresh Produce Safety Centre Limited launched

27 May 2014
The Fresh Produce Safety Centre Limited officially opened its doors for business today.

The first meeting of the Fresh Produce Safety Centre’s Board of Directors occurred this morning, following registration of the new company limited by guarantee with ASIC yesterday.

The Centre is being hosted by the University of Sydney under a project with the Produce Marketing Association of Australia and New Zealand (PMA A-NZ).

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How many Food Safety Supervisors do I need for my business?

Depending on your business size, you may need one or more Food Safety Supervisors.
A key legal requirement of a Food Safety Supervisor is that they are reasonably available at all times to:
· Dispense food safety advice
· Monitor and prevent hazards in the workplace
· Supervise food handling staff
· Deal with food safety emergencies and unexpected health inspections
While this does not mean the FSS needs to be at the business 24/7, the FSS should be present to supervise all food handling tasks.
To read the full article, including suggestions for single and multiple sites, please click here.

Cooks image by Garry Smith 2011 Some Rights Reserved (CC by 2.0)

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European pesticide residue adherence rates above 97% for third consecutive year

The results of the EU coordinated programme showed that 98.1% of the samples analysed contained residue levels within permissible limits and that 53.4% of samples contained no measurable residues at all. The foods with the highest MRL exceedance rates were spinach (6.5%), beans with pods (4.1%), oranges (2.5%), cucumbers (2.1%) and rice (2%). The foods with the lowest MRL exceedance rates were wheat flour (0.3%) and potatoes (0.6%).
To read the full article and report, please click here
Source :

Asparagus by Steve Snodgrass 2011, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY 2.0)

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Food Industry Recall Protocol 7th Edition now available

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is pleased to announce that the new edition of the Food Industry Recall Protocol, 7th Edition, May 2014 is now available. It has been officially released today by Assistant Minister for Health, Fiona Nash.
The Food Industry Protocol has been updated by FSANZ with the assistance of the Australian state and territory food enforcement agencies and the food industry.
This Protocol provides information on recalling food in Australia specifically the:
· roles and responsibilities of food businesses and government during a food recall
· key steps in the food recall process
· legal requirements for food businesses in relation to food recalls
· important elements of a food recall plan.
The new Protocol is available on the FSANZ website (pdf 1908kb) | (word 3307kb), and hard copies are available from FSANZ on request.
Key updates in the new edition include:
· revised recall templates
· updated information on communicating recalls to the public
· removal of the reference to the term ‘voluntary recall’ – this term caused confusion with consumers and some businesses who interpreted a ‘voluntary recall’ as meaning it was voluntary for them to take action
· a new section on the importance of traceability and food business’s obligations under the Food Standards Code

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Study traces E.coli toll from bagged salads

About 63,000 cases of illness from E.coli happen in the U.S. each year, and a growing number of cases are linked to lettuce, spinach and other leafy greens in bagged salads, according to a study published in the journal Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. The study examined an outbreak of foodborne illness that was traced to bagged salad, in which six people were hospitalized and two died.

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Decontamination by ultrasound application in fresh fruits and vegetables

Ever wondered about how ultrasound could be used to enhance food safety? An article to be published in Food Safety details the “principles, mechanisms and effects of ultrasound on fruits and vegetables as a sanitization technology.”

Changes in consumer eating habits, health concerns, and convenient and practical foods have led to an increased demand for fruit and vegetable products. Food safety is essential considering that there are reports of outbreaks involving the consumption of fruits and vegetables contaminated with pathogens. Washing associated with sanitizer procedure is considered as a critical step to satisfy hygienic and sanitary requirements and maintain the sensory and nutritional characteristics of fruits and vegetables. Chemical compounds are widely applied to clean and sanitize fresh fruits and vegetables, and some of these chemicals, such as the inorganic chlorine compounds, produce by-products that are dangerous to human health. The use of ultrasound is a technology that is gaining ground in the food industry. Ultrasound is a form of energy generated by sound waves at frequencies that are too high to be detected by the human ear. In ultrasound, the removal of dirt and food residues from surfaces and the inactivation of microorganisms occur as a consequence of cavitation, which is the formation, growth and collapse of bubbles that generate a localized mechanical and chemical energy. There are indications that this technology can be used in the food industry, alone or associated with chemical sanitizers. In this paper, we discuss the principles, mechanisms and effects of ultrasound on fruits and vegetables as a sanitization technology.
Full article at:
Title: Decontamination by ultrasound application in fresh fruits and vegetables
Source: Food Control. Volume 45, November 2014, Pages 36 – 50
Authors: Jackline Freitas Brilhante de São José, Nélio José de Andrade, Afonso Mota Ramos, Maria Cristina Dantas Vanetti, Paulo César Stringheta and José Benício Paes Chaves
Document Type: Research Article
Bubbles image by Ilena Gecan 2007 (under creative commons licence)

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Processing and storage of celery

An article published in the most recent issue of the Journal of Food Protection explains ‘mitigation strategies during dicing and proper refrigeration are essential to minimizing potential health risks associated with diced celery.’ The abstract reproduced below:
The transfer of Listeria monocytogenes to previously uncontaminated product during mechanical dicing of celery and its growth during storage at various temperatures were evaluated. In each of three trials, 275 g of retail celery stalks was immersed in an aqueous five-strain L. monocytogenes cocktail to obtain an average of 5.6 log CFU/g and then was diced using a hand-operated dicer, followed by sequential dicing of 15 identical 250-g batches of uninoculated celery using the same dicer. Each batch of diced celery was examined for numbers of Listeria initially and after 3 and 7 days of storage at 4, 7, and 10°C. Additionally, the percentage by weight of inoculated product transferred to each of 15 batches of uninoculated celery was determined using inoculated red stems of Swiss chard as a surrogate. Listeria transfer to diced celery was also assessed after removing the Swiss chard. L. monocytogenes transferred from the initial batch of inoculated celery to all 15 batches of uninoculated celery during dicing, with populations decreasing from 5.2 to 2.0 log CFU/g on the day of processing. At 10°C, Listeria reached an average population of 3.4 log CFU/g in all batches of uninoculated celery. Fewer batches of celery showed significant growth during storage at 4 and 7°C (P < 0.05). Swiss chard pieces were recovered from all 15 batches of celery, with similar amounts seen in batches 2 to 15 (P > 0.05). L. monocytogenes was also recovered from each batch of uninoculated celery after the removal of Swiss chard, with populations decreasing from 4.7 to 1.7 log CFU/g. Storing the diced celery at 10°C yielded a L. monocytogenes generation time of 0.87 days, with no significant growth observed during storage at 4 or 7°C. Consequently, mitigation strategies during dicing and proper refrigeration are essential to minimizing potential health risks associated with diced celery.
Full article at:
Title: Listeria monocytogenes transfer during mechanical dicing of celery and growth during subsequent storage
Source: Journal of Food Protection, Number 5, May 2014, pp. 696-863 , pp. 765-771(7)
Authors: Kaminski, Chelsea N; Davidson, Gordon R; Ryser, Elliot T
Document Type: Research Article

Celery image by J M Rosenfeld 2008 (under creative commons licence)

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