Posts from the "Latest News" category

Recall: Sprout Garden Alfalfa and Onion Sprouts

Belmore Bean Factory Pty Ltd has recalled Sprout Garden Alfalfa and Onion Sprouts from the Sydney Markets (Flemington) and fruit and vegetable stores in NSW due to E.coli contamination. Food products contaminated with E.coli may cause illness if consumed. Consumers should not eat this product and should return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice.
Date notified to FSANZ: 14/04/2014
Food type: Sprouts
Product name: Sprout Garden Alfalfa and Onion Sprouts
Package description and size: Plastic punnet with a sealed lid, 125g
Date marking: Use By 15/04/14
Country of origin: Australia
Reason for recall: Microbial (E.coli) contamination
Distribution: The Sydney Markets (Flemington) and fruit and vegetable stores in NSW

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Food safety isn’t optional, Chiquita chief says

BALTIMORE: The top banana from Chiquita Brands International says the company is going back to its roots, with a triple bottom line approach that has moved food safety to the forefront.
In his keynote presentation at the annual Food Safety Summit, Ed Lonergan, chief executive officer for the Charlotte, N.C.-multinational company, said Chiquita’s board never meets without Courtney Parker, the company’s senior vice president for quality and food safety, at the table.
“Courtney’s team has veto power,” Lonergan said. “Food safety is not a competitive advantage. It’s a fact of business, all of our businesses.”
Lonergan said commitment to food safety requires commitment from top management to integrate it into all levels of business, which he said has returned to its core of bananas and packaged salads. “Chiquita’s value chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” he said.
To read the full article, click here

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Harsher penalties for food safety offenders on way

Abu Dhabi: A tough new draft law will step up penalties for those found to be endangering food safety across the UAE, according to legislation presented to the Federal National Council for review and approval on Tuesday.
The bill suggests a jail term of up to three years and a Dh2 million fine for food safety offenders.
The legislation, passed by the Cabinet last month, sets out key requirements to establish a system of effective regulatory and oversight services to ensure the protection of public health and protect consumers.
It provides for a prison term of not less than a month and a fine of up to Dh500,000 for those who deal in food or products that contain pork or alcohol or any of their by-products without permission.
Misleading consumers by publishing a false description of food or using incorrect labels will attract a fine ranging from between Dh10,000 and Dh100,000, according to the draft law, which will need to be passed by the House and get a final endorsement by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan before it becomes law.
To read the full article, please click here.
Source: Written by Samir Salama.

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PLU codes capture retailer interest in China

In 2012, China released a five-year plan to upgrade its food safety regulations to address food safety concerns. As demand for safe produce continues to rise among consumers, China, as well as the global produce industry, is constantly seeking efficient tools to ensure food safety at every level of the supply chain. In the words of the Produce Marketing Association’s vice president of supply chain efficiencies, Ed Treacy, “growers and produce industry professionals want to do the ‘right’ thing.”
At this year’s PMA Fresh Connections: China, Treacy was once again invited to present on global standards for produce, covering five topics, including trends in food safety, cold chain management, traceability, traceability requirements and PLU (Price Look Up) codes.
“There’s a lot of interest from the produce industry here on what the PLU code means. Since last year, people want to know more about PLU because they see it on imported fruits. They will see a sticker on that and they do not understand. Or some people thought that they knew what it was [but they didn’t],” he said.
To read the full article, including more on what PLU codes are for and the continuing global rollout, please click here

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Questions for the Environmental Working Group

The Alliance for Food and Farming takes exception to the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen” list for a number of reasons. The most important is that we – and many, many nutritionists and health experts from around the world – believe this list discourages consumption of fruits and vegetables and raises doubt among mothers that what they are feeding their children is safe. This is unfortunate, given the emphasis of government agencies and health experts who understand these products are very safe and are urging people to eat more of them to reduce disease and obesity.
As additional proof of the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, whether conventional or organic, two new studies were released this week. One shows that eating more servings of fruits and veggies leads to a longer life. The other found no differences in cancer rates among organic and conventional consumers. A paper published in 2012 also found that if half the consumers in the U.S. consumed just one more serving of a fruit or vegetable each day, 20,000 cancer cases could be prevented each year – and this study was conducted assuming all servings were of conventionally grown fruits and vegetables.
To read the full article, please visit here.
Source: Author: Marilyn Dolan

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Researcher studies food safety in greenhouse tomato production

LSU AgCenter plant pathologist Melanie Lewis Ivey is studying how diseases enter greenhouses and cost-effective prevention methods. Ivey said the goal is to identify the entry points of high-risk pathogens and develop best practices for safeguarding greenhouse crops from bacteria, viruses and viroids. She also hopes to find out if plant pathogens and human pathogens enter systems at similar points. Ivey said the project includes both small and large greenhouses, so researchers can determine how risk levels vary by size of the operation.
Because food safety is ultimately up to the people who grow and process food, Ivey is assembling a guide that will help greenhouse producers learn about best practices for plant disease and food safety management.
The project is a collaboration with Ohio State University and is funded by a $2 million speciality grant from U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The AgCenter’s part is $130,000. To read the full article, please click here.
Source:, written by Olivia McClure.

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Dr Robyn McConchie’s Report of Day 2 at CPS Research Symposium, 27th June 2013

The CPS at the University of Davis has been very supportive of the initiatives in Australia to establish an affiliated Fresh Produce Safety Centre. Over the past year they have very generously shared their research outcomes, they have given presentations to our industry, and this year invited Australian researchers to apply for research grants to work collaboratively with US scientists on issues important for the Australian fruit and vegetable industry.
As part of the ongoing collaboration Dr Robyn McConchie from the University of Sydney was invited to take part in a panel session at the recent 2013 CPS Research Symposium held at Wegman’s Conference Centre in Rochester, NY State. Due to the increasing awareness and interest from the US industry, the Research Symposium was held over 2 days. To view a summary of Day 1 on Listeria and Composts please click here.
Click here to view the outcomes of projects from the second day on “Water Quality for Irrigation and Postharvest Practices”, “Pathogen transference: Pre-harvest, harvest and Packaging.” And “Hot Topics.”

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“The foods most likely to give you food poisoning” – Fruit and Vegetables aren’t off the hook

In the lead up to the Food Safety Information Council, Australian Food Safety Week themed, Shopping Food Safety, it was reported on [7/11/13] that food borne illness may not be result of your chicken lunch but the salad…
Lorraine Belanger, spokeswoman for Food Standards Australia New Zealand, said a lot of foodborne illness happens in the home. And under the right circumstances anything can give you food poisoning.
“People think of chicken as the number one suspect but actually things like salads and cut fruit, if handled in wrong way or exposed to wrong things, can cause major foodborne outbreaks.” Many foodborne illnesses take days or weeks to manifest.
“When people get sick they think ‘Oh it was that thing I ate at lunch’ but it could be something they ate a week ago,” Ms Belanger said.
Juliana Madden, executive officer at the Food Safety Information Council, says vegetarians and vegans often think they’re more protected from food poisoning but this is not the case. “Some of the largest food safety issues that have popped up in the last few years have been things like baby spinach and tomatoes,” Ms Madden said.
The article highlighted to consumers seven foods that pose food poisoning risks:

raw vegetables
chicken, duck and turkey
deli meats

To view the full article, click here.

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Australian Food Safety Week,11 – 17th November 2013

It is the second week of November and the Food Safety Information Council (FSIC) is holding its annual Australian Food Safety Week!
The Food Safety Information Council provides information to consumers, aiming to reduce the incidence of food poisoning, and to protect people from what is often a nasty experience involving diarrhoea, vomiting, cramps and fever.
This years theme is Shopping Food Safety focusing on ‘Clean, Choose, Chill and Separate‘ when selecting food and transporting  it home safely. A national Newspoll Survey, commissioned by the Food Safety Information Council for Australian Food Safety Week, shows that too few Australian consumers are taking notice of vital food safety advice on food labels and are taking risks by not using insulated bags or coolers to transport refrigerated food.
Strict food safety standards apply to food retailers in Australia to ensure that the food you buy is safe. But there are some signs you can look for to ensure you buy a safe product. Once you buy the food, it’s up to you to make sure that it stays safe including not leaving shopping in a hot car. To read more about this topic, click here.
Resources available from over the years in various topics concerning consumer food safety. To view them, click here.
Source: Food Safety Information Council [13.11.2013]
While the food safety tips apply to all agricultural produce, fresh produce features as a significant risk to consumers due to the raw eaten nature of the product. Education on food safety is vital to ensure the integrity of fruit and vegetables to be healthy, nutritious and safe.

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Seventh FPSANZ monthly newsletter out now!

The seventh edition of the Fresh Produce Safety Australia & New Zealand newsletter has just been released!
In this edition:

Institute of Food Technologists Launches Global Food Traceability Center
Emerging Pathogens: E. Coli O104:H4
Number of severe E. coli strains grows
Changes to the MRLS for Blueberries and Raspberries – FSANZ

…and more!
Click here to check out the newsletter.
Stay up to date with what’s happening in the Fresh Produce Safety community by signing up for the monthly newsletter.

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