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Third FPSANZ monthly newsletter out now!

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

Introducing the FPS A&NZ Technical Committee
FPS A&NZ hosting Food Safety Hub at PMA Fresh Connections!
What happened at the Freshcare Workshop? Find out from the team.
“What’s new in Food Safety for you?” Presentation available.

…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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“Whats new in food safety for you?” presentation now available.

At the recent Freshcare Workshop 11-12 April 2013, Associate Professor Robyn McConchie (USyd) delivered a presentation on “Whats new in Food Safety for you?”

The presentation was based on information provided by Dr Bob Whitaker (PMA) and Ms Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli (CPS) and summarises some of the food safety research made available at the Center for Produce Safety 2012 Research Symposium.

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Introducing the FPSANZ Technical Committee, 2013.

The FPS Technical Committee has been formed to collaborate with the Center for Produce Safety at UC Davis to review the research proposals submitted by the Australian research community.
The objective of the research is to provide the produce industry with practical, translatable research data that can be used at all levels throughout the supply chain and the FPS Technical Committee is well equipped to review the submissions.
The research proposals will address two major research priorities, which were identified at the industry Fresh Produce Safety Forum in November 2012: Compost, Soil Amendment Fertiliser Use, and Cultivation Practices; and Agricultural Water.
The 2013 FPS Technical Committee includes:

(Chair) Professor Les Copeland, Professor of Agriculture,Faculty of Agriculture and Environment University of Sydney (NSW)
Dr Andreas Klieber, Agriculture Policy Manager, Coles-Wesfarmers (Vic)
Dr David Miles, Senior Technical Officer, NSW Food Authority (NSW)
Mr Scott Ledger, Senior Horticulturist (Postharvest), Hort VC Group (Qld)
Mr Richard Bennett, Product Integrity Manager, Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL) (Vic)
Mrs Allison Clark, General Manager for Marketing, Houston’s Farm (Tas).

For more details on the Committee, please download their profiles.

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Shoppers in the Asia-Pacific have a taste for safe food.

The Nielsen Global Survey of Fresh Foods  released its report this month, revealing that food safety is one of the major influences for shoppers in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Fresh food contributes to more than 50% of food, grocery and personal care spending in most Asian countries.

“While modern trade fresh food shoppers are motivated by freshness and convenience, their view of these attributes are different than a traditional shopper,” said Peter Gale, managing director of Retailer Services, Nielsen Asia-Pacific and Middle East. “Freshness relates to cleanliness and food safety and the belief that they can trust the quality of the product. Convenience is about one-stop shopping rather than location.”
It is clear that food safety is at the front of the consumers mind when purchasing fresh produce, it is important to “Ensure high quality standards and effectively communicate the importance of food safety.” said Gale.

To read the full report click here.

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Irradiation of Tomatoes and Capsicums Approved by FSANZ.

Tomatoes and capsicums have recently been added to the list of produce permitted to receive irradiation as a phytosanitary measure by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).
This change comes following application by DAFF Queensland, in association with the New Zealand Fresh Produce Importers Association (NZFPIA), who requested the variation be made to Standard 1.5.3.
In the past, chemicals such as dimethoate and/or fenthion have primarily been used as the phytosanitary measures however these chemicals have been restricted for this purpose and other options need to be considered. Permitting irradiation of tomatoes and capsicums will allow the increase of domestic and international trade due to the rigorous requirements in place for quarantine purposes against fruit fly.
FSANZ has reviewed the application and the scientific evidence on the safety of irradiated tomatoes and capsicums as well as the effect irradiation has on their nutritional composition. The approval has been submitted to the Council Of Australian Governments (COAG) and awaits their decision.
For more information about this approval, go to the FSANZ website.

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Traceability set to improve with the GS1 DataBar

GS1 have launched the new GS1 DataBar, to be implemented globally from January 2014.
This in an important development and will impact retailers both locally and internationally.
The GS1 DataBar is a family of seven barcodes, four of which can be read by omnidirectional scanners at Point-of-Sale. The smaller size will provide several advantages to anyone working in the supply chain and specifically for the fresh produce industry, allowing products that have not been previously barcoded to be quickly and accurately scanned at Point-of-Sale. The benefits of the new GS1 DataBar include:
•              Improved Traceability – with more information input into the barcodes
•              Enhanced and wider category management
•              Product authentication
•              Global variable measure product identification
•              Increased shrink control through more effective markdown management
As an example, the GS1 DataBar provides for the automated markdown of products approaching expiry date. This saves time and resources in manual markdown and gives retailers the scope to improve product rotation and eliminate non-sales from expired products.
This will increase the level of confidence in the safety of fresh produce and aligns with goals of the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI).
Furthermore, the long-anticipated report produced for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) (report), was recently released and fits also with the PTI and the developments GS1 are making for traceability of fresh Produce. The recommendations in the IFT report including: encouraging current industry-led initiatives, not excluding commodities; accepting electronic traceability data/records during product tracing investigations; and requiring all organizations that handle food in the supply chain to identify and maintain records of traceability related information.
It is recommended that anyone working in the supply chain, no matter what size, understand the GS1 DataBar.
For more information on the GS1 DataBar, download the brochure.

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Ministry for Primary Industries, NZ, releases study on Residues on Fresh Produce

Last month, the Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand, released the findings from the annual Food Residue Surveillance Program which targeted locally-produced and imported crops prone to exceeding the maximum residue limit (MRL) set for agricultural chemicals.
The study looked at chemical residues in fresh, unwashed produce and results indicated that most growers are using pesticides responsibly in the recommended manner with only a few exceptions. This year’s focus was on asparagus, eggplant, feijoas, hops, lemons, olive oil, persimmons, pumpkins, spring onion, sweet corn, tamarillos and walnuts.
Produce is sampled over the 12 month period so as to allow for seasonal variation in the food. The results are reported on after each quarter of testing. This differs from previous studies where sampling produce occurred twice over a short period of time.
Read the full article.
Find out more about the Food Residue Surveillance Program at the Ministry for Primary Industries | Manatu Ahu Matua, New Zealand.

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Water Sanitation and Validation: Workshop Summary and Presentations.

In January 2013 Associate Professor Robyn McConchie (HoD Plant and Food Sciences, University of Sydney) and Mr Michael Worthington (CEO of PMA A-NZ) attended the Wash Water Sanitation and Validation Workshop held at the Center for Produce Safety CPS) in conjunction with the Institute for Food Safety and Health, Illinois Institute of Technology.
The workshop provided  an update on the latest research in wash water sanitation for all stakeholders, and drew attention on the participant’s experience to identify needs for research and training. Over 130 industry stakeholders from all parts of the supply chain attended, which indicates just how important this food safety topic is to the fresh produce industry.
Guest speakers included Bob Brackett, IIFSH, Devon Zagory, Zagory and Associates, Karan Khurana,  Pulse Instruments and Drew McDonald, Danaco Solutions.
Associate Professor Robyn McConchie (HoD Plant and Food Sciences, University of Sydney) has provided us with the key take home messages from the presentations.
Download Robyn’s key messages here.
Devon Zagary’s presentation addressed the quality of wash water, the role and choice of disinfectants, the variables to monitor, and definition of critical control point, validation and verification.
Download Devon’s presentation here.
Karan Khurana described some of the wash water systems that are available, ways in which to monitor and verify the system and variables that impact the system.
Download Karan’s presentation here.
Drew McDonald reminded the audience of the critical opportunities and challenges  they have encountered with wash water systems, and the critical questions the industry needs to address.
Download Drew’s presentation here.

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Produce Industry Leaders Launch Website for Fresh Produce Safety

Press Release: 17 January 2013
University of Sydney’s Faculty of Agriculture and Environment and PMA Australia-New Zealand establish website, dedicated to all aspects of food safety for the fresh produce industries of Australia and New Zealand.
 Representatives from the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Agriculture and Environment and PMA Australia-New Zealand, the Australasian region’s leading fresh produce trade association, today announced the launch of the Fresh Produce Safety – Australia & New Zealand (FPS) website.  The FPS website, at www.freshproducesafety-anz.com, has been established as part of a major project to identify a model and priorities for fresh produce safety research and extension, and to raise awareness of the challenges for fresh produce safety and the importance of enhancing current safety practices.
The project, using voluntary funds from both organisations, with matched funding from the Australian Government through Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL), focuses on three critical objectives. First, to plan how the fresh produce industry will handle major food safety outbreaks in the region, particularly in crisis mitigation and management, and consumer communication; second to identify research needs that are specific to the Australian and New Zealand fresh produce industry and to develop local or international collaborative partnerships in research, outreach and education to address these needs; and third, to translate relevant research outcomes from the Center for Produce Safety at the University of California-Davis for application in the Australasian fresh produce industries.
“The 2006 spinach crisis in the US and the European sprout problems of 2011 demonstrate the importance of our industry working together from paddock to plate to ensure continued fresh food safety in Australia and New Zealand,” said Associate Professor Robyn McConchie, head of the Plant and Food Sciences department of the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment at the University of Sydney.
“We anticipate developing a research model where we will be utilising existing research and information, as well as bringing together international experts, representatives of government, industry associations, growers, packers and processers, wholesalers and retailers, food safety trainers and practitioners, all with a focus on filling the knowledge gaps on produce food safety in Australia and New Zealand, and protecting and enhancing food quality and safety in fresh produce,” said Associate Professor McConchie.
A Food Safety Taskforce initiated by PMA Australia-New Zealand and comprising of representatives from all sectors of the supply chain, has also been appointed to assist in the project and work collaboratively with industry to facilitate communication and outreach.
“An outbreak of food-borne illness can be devastating, not only for those directly affected, but for an entire industry. As an industry, we have a responsibility to live up to the trust placed in us every day by consumers, by ensuring the safety and traceability of our fresh produce” said Fabian Carniel, Chair of the Food Safety Taskforce and Joint CEO of Mulgowie Farms.
“On behalf of its members and the broader industry, PMA Australia-New Zealand is taking an active role in enhancing the safety and security of produce across the Australia-New Zealand region, and the taskforce is confident that this website will prove to be an extremely useful resource for the industry” he added.
For further information on the Fresh Produce Safety – Australia & New Zealand website, please visit www.freshproducesafety-anz.com.
-ENDS-
Click here to download copy
About University of Sydney, Faculty of Agriculture & Environment
The Faculty of Agriculture and Environment explores new frontiers in food production, carbon cycling and agricultural sustainability. The critical issues facing the world today shape our research and teaching, towards a focus on the sustainability of the system in the face of environmental challenges and a burgeoning global population. The University of Sydney has a strong background in research and the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment is positioned to provide in-house produce safety research and outreach to the Australian fresh produce industry. The University of Sydney, Faculty of Agriculture and Environment is launching a new Bachelor of Food and Agribusiness degree, commencing in 2014. For more information, please visit www.sydney.edu.au/agriculture.
About PMA Australia-New Zealand
Founded in 2009, PMA Australia -New Zealand (PMA A-NZ) is the first regional affiliate of the Produce Marketing Association, the leading trade association representing companies from every segment of the global produce and floral supply chain. Its community includes seed companies, growers, packers, processors, shippers, importers and exporters, wholesalers and retailers, foodservice, government agencies, associated suppliers to the industry, and many more. By working across the whole value chain in Australia and New Zealand, PMA A-NZ strives to assist businesses to increase their sales of fresh and safe produce to regional and global consumers and to develop their internal business capabilities through motivated and skilled employees. For more information, please visit www.pma-anz.com.
Press Contacts:
Erin Hart, PMA Australia-New Zealand, tel. +61 3 8844 5536, email e.hart@pma-anz.com
Erika Watson, U Syd. Faculty of Agriculture & Environment, tel. +61 2 8627 1005, email erika.watson@sydney.edu.au

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Webinar: Top FAQs about Produce Wash Water Management for Small -Scale & Direct Market Farms

A free, downloadable presentation based on a webinar on produce wash water system management, is now available on the Center for Produce Safety website.
First presented in September 2012 by Trevor Suslow, extension research specialist at the University of California-Davis, the presentation focuses on the “Top FAQs about Produce Wash Water Management for Small-Scale and Direct Market Farms”. The presentation aims to:

Focus on presenting information that you can use
Give basic ideas and suggestions
Give you the tools to make improvements in your operation
Answer questions

Click here to download the presentation.

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