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Posts from the ‘Research News’ Category

Fresh Produce Safety Centre welcomes APAL

The Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia & New Zealand today announced that APAL has joined the FPSC as a supporter.

The Chairman of the FPSC, Mr Michael Worthington, said: “We are delighted to welcome APAL to the FPSC.” 

“In these difficult times, it is vitally important that the industry redoubles its commitment to the safety of fresh produce – and that’s what APAL has done by joining the FPSC. APAL, as the peak industry body representing apple and pear growers across Australia, has demonstrated its leadership in food safety through supporting the FPSC,” Mr Worthington said.

APAL – Apple and Pear Australia Limited – is the national representative for Australia’s $600 million apple and pear industry, and the owner of the Pink Lady® brand in over 100 countries. Find out more about APAL here.

APAL’s CEO Philip Turnbull said: “We are proud to come on board as a supporter of the FPSC. The FPSC’s work aligns with our commitment to ensuring consumers continue to trust and enjoy the quality and safety of the food they buy.”

APAL will be joining the Fresh Produce Safety Centre at the Bronze supporter level.

The Fresh Produce Safety Centre’s supporters are:

Platinum Supporters: PMA Australia-New Zealand Limited | The University of Sydney | Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd | Woolworths Ltd

Gold Supporters: AUSVEG | Freshcare Limited

Silver Supporters: Costa Group | Fresh Select | Harris Farm Markets Pty Ltd | Horticulture New Zealand | Perfection Fresh Australia Pty Ltd | Seeka | United Fresh New Zealand | Zespri International

Bronze Supporters: APAL | GS1 Australia | Harvest Moon | MG Marketing and LaManna | Metcash Food and Grocery | OneHarvest | PM Fresh Pty Limited | Symbio Laboratories

Conference Partners: Agriculture Victoria | Fresh Markets Australia | AUS-QUAL

Find out about how join the FPSC as a supporter here.

Special issue of Agriculture on Quality and Safety of Fresh Produce

Calling all produce safety researchers! Seeking papers for a special issue of MDPI Agriculture “Quality and Safety of Fresh Produce”, with guest editor and Board member of the FPSC, Professor Robyn McConchie.

Deadline of 30 November 2020.

Advice to the public: wash your produce with water NOT SOAP

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Fresh produce safety and COVID-19 positive workers in processing facilities: key points for industry

The ARC Training Centre for Food Safety in the Fresh Produce Industry has released information on fresh produce safety and COVID-19 positive workers in processing facilities. Key points are:

  • COVID-19 is unlikely to be passed on through fresh produce
  • There is a low risk of contracting COVID-19 from fresh produce if handled by a worker who is confirmed positive for COVID-19
  • Immediately notify the health department if a worker in the facility tests positive for COVID-19
  • Increase contact time and/or concentration of disinfectants on surfaces in the processing environment

For further information, visit the ARC Training Centre’s website here

Additional resources:
For additional information, visit these following sites: 

Australian Department of Health: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-resources

Freshcare: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources: https://www.freshcare.com.au/resources/novel-coronavirus-covid-19/

Institute for Food Safety at Cornell University: The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Food Industry Resources and FAQs: https://instituteforfoodsafety.cornell.edu/coronavirus-covid-19/frequently-asked-questions/

New Zealand Food Safety Science Research Centre: https://www.nzfssrc.org.nz/node/154

NZ MPI: Coronavirus and Food Safety on COVID-19: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/protection-and-response/responding/alerts/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-food-safety/

Coronavirus unlikely to be passed on through fresh produce

The ARC Training Centre for Food Safety in the Fresh Produce Industry and FSANZ have released information on the coronavirus and food safety. Key points are that coronavirus is unlikely to be passed on through fresh produce. The virus may survive up to three hours on dry inanimate surfaces, and several hours on hands, tissues, and other surfaces, although this depends on the nature of the surface, environmental conditions etc. The produce industry should reduce the risk of transmission through surface contamination by strictly following all good personal hygiene practices along with good agricultural practices. More (ARC Training Centre for Food Safety in the Fresh Produce Industry) and more (FSANZ)

Outbreaks, occurrence and control of norovirus and Hep A in berries

The team from the ARC Training Centre for Food Safety in the Fresh Produce Industry has published a review paper in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition on norovirus and Hep A in berries. Dr Hayriye Bozkurt, Dr Kim-Yen Phan-Thien, Dr Floris van Ogtrop, A/Prof Tina Bell and Prof Robyn McConchie co-authored “Outbreaks, occurrence, and control of norovirus and hepatitis a virus contamination in berries: A review”. The review found that inadequate handler hygiene was the predominant source of pre- and post-harvest contamination, but that the current industrial processing methods (freezing, storage and washing) provided limited efficacy in reducing viral load.  They recommended key interventions in personal and environmental hygiene and the development of alternative processing technologies to induce sufficient viral inactivation in berries while maintaining sensory and quality attributes.

Read the review paper here.

Fact Sheet: Animal Impact on Produce Safety

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USA: Researchers confirm flies can transfer E. coli from feedlots to produce fields

 

Along with feedlot dust blowing in the wind and surface irrigation water flowing adjacent to feedlots, flies captured in leafy greens plots near feedlots are capable of transferring E. coli from animal operations to produce fields.

Set for publication in August in the “Journal of Food Protection,” new research from a team of experts links contamination of leafy greens with E. coli from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), also referred to as feedlots, via “pest flies.”  

“Most fly isolates were the same predominant pulsed-field gel electrophoresis types found in feedlot surface manure and leafy greens, suggesting a possible role for flies in transmitting E. coli O157:H7 to the leafy greens,” according to the research abstract.

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Reducing listeria contamination from salad vegetables

Research conducted in 2010 found that Listeria monocytogenes was not predominantly spread by water and chicken manure, two common farm inputs in Australian vegetable farming. It is however more prevalent in summer and in particular in Victoria.

Silage and baled hay produced high numbers of L. monocytogenes which are fed to and ingested by ruminants (cows, sheep, goats). This issue with this feed is that it passes through the animals usually without causing infection to them and becomes trapped within dust when the faeces become dry in hot weather.

The dust carrying the L. monocytogenes can then settle on and contaminate vegetables after being blown large distances by strong winds. Leafy vegetables (eg. curly parsley) can trap dust more effectively and show higher levels of detection than smooth leaf vegetables, such as cos lettuce.

A project recommendation is that intensive livestock operations (feedlots) and grazing cattle, sheep and goats should be kept as far from vegetable production as possible and particularly in the direction of prevailing summer winds.

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Food safety conference delivers key learnings to the fresh produce industry

The theme of this year’s Fresh Produce Safety Conference, hosted by the Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia & New Zealand in Sydney last week was ‘Food Safety: It’s Your Responsibility’.

Bringing together over 150 leading food producers and manufacturers, packers, distributors and retailers, students and researchers, the event confirmed food safety and compliance as top priorities for the industry. Read more