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.
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/
This fact sheet addresses the issue of physical contamination of fresh produce. It is divided into two sections: part 1 addresses pests and part 2 covers other physical contaminants.
View: Fact sheet: Foreign object contamination of fresh produce
Fruit and vegetable purchases may occasionally contain unintended additional contents, such as physical contaminants or foreign objects. Growers aim to eliminate these from the fresh produce sent to retailers and processors. Most retail and food service specifications have a zero tolerance for pests, dead or alive, or other physical contaminants. Consumers also have a low tolerance of additional contents.
Physical contaminants is a broad category that includes but is not limited to soil, stones, sticks, weeds, insects, frogs, glass, nails, plastic and rubber, pens, pins, paper clips and jewellery. Some are a social media novelty while others have genuine injury potential. Some come from the environment and others are from harvest, handling and packing. Some can result in withdrawals, recalls and negative media coverage.
FPSC has produced a fact sheet to address the topic of contamination of pests and objects.
Global Food Safety Resource: More than half of the secret to recovering from a pathogen-related product recall lies in being prepared before it even happens, according to Keith Warriner, a professor of food science at Canada’s University of Guelph. “Have a recall team that includes someone with decision-making authority,” he says, noting that, depending on the company, the team should also have staff from quality assurance, production, marketing and distribution.
Food Safety Australia: There was a product recall in Australia around 10 years ago which is now taught in Universities around the world on how it should be done. The company involved immediately put its Product Recall Program into operation and shut down production in the affected plants, retrieved all the suspect product and then went into a very carefully managed public relations campaign.
Read the full article at Food Safety Australia
25 July 2016
‘We are fortunate to have secured Mr William Marler as a speaker for this year’s Fresh Produce Safety Conference,’ said Fresh Produce Safety Centre Chair, Michael Worthington.
Mr Marler is a well known personal injury lawyer and expert in foodborne illness litigation at Marler Clark, a major force in food safety policy in the United States and abroad,’ Mr Worthington said.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand: Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has developed a Food Recall Plan template to help food businesses manage recalls. FSANZ Chief Executive Officer Steve McCutcheon said every food business needs to be able to quickly remove unsafe food from the marketplace to protect the health and safety of consumers. “The template developed by FSANZ is particularly aimed at helping smaller businesses ensure they have a food recall plan in place and know what to do if something goes wrong,” Mr McCutcheon said.
Food Processing: GS1 Australia’s electronic product recall notification management system has received certification from HACCP Australia. The Recall service — designed to minimise the impact and cost of food and beverage products recalled and withdrawn from the supply chain — has been certified as ‘effective and suitable for businesses that operate a HACCP based Food Safety Programme’.
The Business Continuity Institute: As product recalls increasingly dominate the headlines, Vince Shiers explains why careful planning is critical to ensuring companies are primed to respond no matter what the circumstances.
Product recalls are never far from the headlines. In our experience, if a company doesn’t have a recall plan before a recall incident, they will make sure they have one afterwards.
New York Times: Frozen peas that could make you sick. A water heater that might explode. Cars with steering wheels that were prone to fail and cause a crash. Those are just a few of the thousands of products that manufacturers have recalled this year — and the deluge shows no sign of slowing. Across almost every product category, the scope and complexity of recalls are on the rise.
The Business Continuity Institute: Farzad Henareh explains how an effectively managed product recall event can serve to enhance brand loyalty, but preparation and constant communication are key.
In the past, companies have been reluctant to enter the recall process, worried that their brand will suffer by being associated with a problem. In fact, the opposite is now true, and if a recall is handled efficiently and quickly customers will understand the situation and may even be impressed by the quality of customer service.