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Sixth FPSANZ monthly newsletter out now!

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

Ten Lessons Learnt from the CPS Research Symposium 2013
Over $120,000 Pledged so far, it’s not too late to support the FPSC!
Summary Report of FPS A&NZ 2012/13
Know the bugs that cause foodborne illness
Congratulations Allan Dall – HACCP Award Winner!

…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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Emerging Pathogens: E. Coli O104:H4

A strain of E. coli known as O104:H4, made worldwide headlines when an outbreak in Germany in May 2011, sickened approximately 4,000 people and killed 50.
This event, linked to fresh sprouts, quickly became the deadliest foodborne illness outbreak in history.
It had evolved from a type of E. coli known to be harmless enteroaggregative E. coli and had acquired the genes to produce Shiga toxin from more virulent strains known as enterohemorrhagic E. coli.
Microbiological research laboratories around the globe began pooling resources to coordinate the world’s first “open source” analysis of a microbial genome. In turn, this spurred an unprecedented level of focused study by international collaborators that is still going on two years later.
Like other enteroaggregative E. coli strains, O104:H4 groups together in defensive brick patterns within a host’s intestines, inducing mucus production that both shields and feeds it. Combine that with the ability to produce Shiga toxin, and O104: H4 possesses the right cocktail of genes to become especially harmful in an outbreak.
To read the full article on Food Safety News, click here.

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FDA seeks new process to check imports

Food destined for the U.S. would be inspected abroad and importers would be held more accountable for ensuring its safety, under new rules proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.
The US government is seeking to outsource work to companies that already have food-sourcing operations overseas. Under the rules proposed in late July, food importers would need to ensure that their foreign suppliers comply with FDA safety rules or that local regulations meet U.S. requirements. The measures also outline accreditation procedures for third-party auditors who would inspect food suppliers.
The FDA portrays the changes as a more effective method of targeting the sources of contaminated foods rather than merely responding after people get sick.
“We will continue to check food at our borders,” Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, said in a statement on the agency’s website.
“However, rather than relying almost entirely on FDA’s investigators at the ports to detect and respond to food safety problems, importers would – for the first time – be held accountable for verifying, in a manner transparent to FDA, that the food they import is safe.”
At the same time, Americans continue to perceive domestically sourced foods as safer than imports, says Marianne Rowden, president and chief executive of the American Association of Exporters & Importers, a trade group that counts several large importers such as Target and Mondelez International as members. (That perception gap remains, Rowden notes, even after several illness outbreaks tied to U.S.-grown produce.)
What’s less clear, according to Rowden, is how smaller players without the infrastructure and supply-chain expertise of major food importers will comply with the law. She predicts “critiques around the edges of some technical aspects” but no major industry backlash against the regulations.
“The food companies are very conscious about their brands,” she says. “We look at this as brand protection, rather than just new regulation.”
To read the full article by Justin Bachman, click here.
To find out more about the Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA) and how it affects US importers, click here.

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Congratulations Allan Dall – HACCP Awards Winner!

Allan Dall, General Manager NSW, Barden Produce, is the proud winner of the Outstanding Individual Award at the 20th Australian HACCP Conference held in Melbourne on August 28, 2013.
As part of the HACCP conference, awards are presented to celebrate the contribution of Australia’s food manufacturing industry of both individuals and organisations involved in food safety.
“The HACCP Awards set Australasia’s food industry professional standards. This year’s winners have demonstrated both excellence in advancing safe food practices and passion to share their knowledge with the industry,” said Damian James, general manager – Assurance Services Australia – Advancing Food Safety, SAI Global.
Allan has undertaken a variety of commercial, safety and risk related roles throughout the fresh produce industry including development and implementation of food safety programs across a multi-site vertically integrated producer, processor and logistics business.
He is a deserving recipient of this award working tirelessly in the food safety area. He has consulted to a broad grower base on the implementation and maintenance of their Food Safety Programs (Including Freshcare) and developed and implemented systems that meet or exceed the requirements of BRC, SQF, Freshcare, HACCP, WQA, Coles and Aldi Supplier Requirements programs.
As a winner of the 2013 HACCP Food Safety Awards, Allan said, “The Barden Produce team and I are really passionate about delivering fresh food within 24 hours of harvest.”
“We’re proud that we’re consistently at the top of our game with the latest systems and operations that not only meet, but exceed, industry and global standards. It’s great to be recognised by Advancing Food Safety, SAI Global for the work that we love to do” Said Allan.
Barden Produce is a market leader in root vegetables, brassicas, herbs and many other specialty vegetables. Maintaining a business philosophy of “Freshness and Quality without Compromise” Barden Produce proudly invests in new product development and technology to share this philosophy with customers. 
Congratulations to Allan Dall and the team at Barden Produce!

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Report summarising the outcomes of 2012/13 of the FPS A&NZ

The FPS A&NZ have made available the final report summarising the outcomes from the project “A New Collaborative Paradigm for Fresh Produce Safety”. This project was funding by the University of Sydney and the Produce Marketing Association Australia and New Zealand (PMA A-NZ) with matched funding from the Australian Government, accessed through Horticulture Australia Limited.
You can download the report here and read about the outcomes of the many activities conducted in the year.

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Pathogen-busting films created with high flavanol cocoa

Researchers have created antimicrobial packaging films containing high flavanol cocoa extracts that they say inhibits the growth of pathogens like listeria, E-coli and salmonella in food products.
This could have wide spread appeal across the food industry. This particular research by Catalayud and her team developed the film and tested it in an infant  formula package against various food born illnesses. The research was published in the journal Food Chemistry.
To read more about this article, written by Oliver Nieburg, click here.

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Know the bugs causing foodborne illness

Food Standards Australia & New Zealand (FSANZ) have released the second edition of “Agents of Foodborne illness” (June 2013).
This publication is intended for the food industry, food safety consultants and food regulators. It contains information about pathogens that cause foodborne illness, including bacteria, viruses, parasites and infectious prion particles. The sections contain information about:

growth and survival characteristics
symptoms of disease
virulence factors
epidemiological data including a summary of large, well-document outbreaks
occurrence in food
susceptible populations
dose-response relationship

This is an excellent resource to begin understanding what pathogens cause many of the foodborne illnesses. It contains a great deal of recommended readings for each of the areas covered.
download a copy of  Agents of Foodborne illness (2nd Edition, 2013).

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Foreign Supplier Verification Programs summary released, new FSMA webinars announced

Produce Marketing Association (PMA) is releasing new resources to help the global fresh produce industry understand the U.S. government’s latest proposed rules to implement the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The association announces plans for bilingual produce-specific webinars explaining the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) proposals for Foreign Supplier Verification Programs (FSVP) and Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors, released by the agency on July 26. PMA also announces release of English and Spanish summaries of the FSVP proposed rule.
The FSVP proposed rule summaries are tailored for the global fresh produce industry, as the proposed rule would extend U.S. food safety standards to imported foods. English and Spanish summaries of the Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors proposed rule will follow soon.
PMA will partner with Canadian Produce Marketing Association, Fresh Produce Association of the Americas and Western Growers to host an English-language webinar covering the two newly proposed rules on Thursday, Aug. 29, from 3-4:30 p.m. EST.
That webinar will feature FDA experts Brian Pendleton, J.D., and Charlotte Christin, J.D., both FDA senior policy advisors who will explain the proposed rules and then answer participants’ questions. PMA will also host a Spanish-language webinar covering the proposed rules on Tuesday, Sept. 10, from 3-4 p.m. EST. Both webinars are free; registration is now open for the English webinar, and will open soon for the Spanish webinar.
“The global reality of today’s fresh produce supply chain is reflected in these latest proposed rules,” said PMA Chief Science & Technology Officer Bob Whitaker. “PMA is here to help all of our members, inside and outside the U.S., understand FSMA’s implications on our global industry.”
PMA’s latest summaries and webinars are designed for:

U.S.-based fresh produce importers, who would be responsible for implementing the FSVP rule;
non-U.S. fresh produce suppliers to U.S. importers, who would be responsible for working with importers to meet FSVP requirements;
fresh produce buyers and sellers who utilize or participate in third-party audits; and
auditors or certifiers, who would be subject to the third-party audit rule

Access FSVP proposed rule summaries and additional PMA resources, by visiting the “What’s New” section of PMA’s online FSMA Resource Center.

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Food Safety Guidance Documents now available online at pma.com

The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) now offers a new resource for food safety guidance documents to help producers and buyers develop food safety programs for their specific operations. Both country and commodity-specific resources are available.  If you or your organisation is aware of applicable produce safety best practices/guidance documents that are not listed and would like to have them included, please contact Cynthia Neal at cneal@pma.com
Access the full list of resources, here.
Check out PMA’s full range of global food safety resources, here.

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FDA releases second set of proposed rules

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released the second set of proposed Food Safety Modernization Act rules covering foreign supplier verification and third-party auditor accreditation. In a statement to members, PMA President and CEO Bryan Silbermann said food that’s consumed in the U.S., no matter where it’s grown, must meet the same standards. Read the entire statement.

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