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Posts from the ‘Regulation & Protocols’ Category

Review of Food Standards Code

Review of Food Standards Code chapters 3 and 4 – Food Safety Management Requirements

FSANZ is reviewing chapters 3 and 4 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) to ensure a consistent and current approach to through-chain food safety management in Australia. Requirements in chapters 3 and 4 only apply in Australia.

In June, the FPSC A-NZ submitted a response, in summary, below.

  • The Review is limited to discussion in the foodservice sector and the possibility of a primary production and processing standard (PPPS) for high-risk horticultural products.
  • We welcome the current approach that applies a risk-based approach to clearly define the product scope for a possible standard.
  • The industry released new Guidelines for Fresh Produce Food Safety 2019 in June.
  • Need for caution about concentrating on products rather than the processes used to produce them.

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Foreign object contamination of fresh produce

There can be unintended additional contents, also known as physical contaminants and foreign objects, in fruit and vegetable purchases. 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.

A series of Q&A’s below address the topic of contamination of pests and objects.

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US: Trump’s new plan to consolidate federal food safety efforts won’t work. Here’s why

Timothy D. Lytton / The Conversation: The Trump administration on June 21 unveiled an ambitious plan to consolidate federal food safety efforts within the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Currently, 15 agencies throughout the federal government administer 35 different laws related to food safety under the oversight of nine congressional committees. The administration calls this system “illogical” and “fragmented.”

Concern about this state of affairs has been fueling similar consolidation proposals for decades. But my research for a forthcoming book on the U.S. food safety system suggests…

Read the full story at The Conversation

US: Ensuring the safety of food contact materials: GMPs and beyond

George Misko / Food Safety Magazine: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in January 2018 that it was exercising enforcement discretion with respect to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) requirements for importers of food contact substances (FCSs).

The news was met with a sigh of relief by the industry. The reasons for FDA’s decision centered on the vastly different hazard profiles and risks presented between FCSs and traditional food.

Read the full article at the Food Safety Magazine website

AU: Who does what during a food recall?

Food Standards Australia New Zealand: Did you know that FSANZ can’t order or force a food recall? Only Australian states and territories have enforcement powers to mandate, order or force a recall if necessary. See this handy visual which outlines the roles of food business, enforcement agencies and FSANZ during a food recall.

Read the full article at the Food Standards Australia New Zealand website

NZ: Horticulture NZ Food Act update

Horticulture New Zealand: Horticulture New Zealand and MPI are making steady progress on the recognition of the GAP schemes for Food Act verification, which will mean that meeting Food Act requirements will be seamless for GAP approved growers. MPI has recently acknowledged that the NZGAP Scheme, checklist and auditors meet the Food Act requirements under National Programme level 1 and are currently looking at the acceptance of other GAP schemes and checklists used by growers (e.g. GLOBALG.A.P.). This will mean that your next GAP audit will also count as a Food Act audit, reducing compliance costs for growers.

Horticulture New Zealand is also working with MPI on coordinating Food Act registration for your horticulture business. In the New Year, we will have a more robust Food Act update while the detail of the roll out is worked through between industry and MPI, so there is no action required from growers at this stage.

Read the full update in the Horticulture New Zealand e-newsletter

US: China’s food safety plan includes alignment with international standards

World Grain: China has outlined steps it plans to take to ensure food safety, including aligning its standards with international standards and launching a risk alert system, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) said in a March report.

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AU: Chemical security

Australian National Security: Terrorists can use chemicals found in everyday products to make powerful homemade explosives and toxic weapons. Approximately 40,000 chemicals are approved for use in Australia.

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Masterclass: Building capability and safety in fresh produce; Hobart AU

A masterclass was hosted in Hobart on 30 November 2016 by two food safety research centres— the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture Food Safety Centre, and the Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia & New Zealand.

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AU: Vegetable sector works to standardise food safety and quality assurance

ABC Rural / Sarina Locke: The horticulture sector is hoping to save $40 million by streamlining quality assurance on farms and in the supply chain. A trial of the more standardised process is happening at Coastal Hydroponics, which produces green leafy salad vegetables from its base on the Gold Coast, Queensland.

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