Posts from the "Reports and Articles" category

FDA finds cattle are the most likely sources of E. coli leafy greens outbreaks

The US Food and Drug Administration has determined that cattle are most likely the sources of outbreak strains of E. coli O157:H7 associated with the 2019 and 2020 leafy greens outbreaks. The report notes “visual observations of the implicated leafy green growing fields suggested several plausible routes for contamination, including from cattle grazing on adjacent land and from animal intrusion, evidenced by the presence of signs of animal intrusion such as scat and large flocks of birds.”
The FDA encourages growers to consider adjacent land use practices, especially if used for animal production, and adopt risk assessment and mitigation strategies.
Read the FDA report here.
[US: Food Safety News]: “Citing numerous E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks linked to leafy greens, the FDA is telling the industry that it’s past time for a head-in-the-sand view of cattle operations uphill from lettuce fields.” More
To view the FPSC’s resource on animal intensive agriculture click here.

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Vale Robert Taylor

Having gained his Bachelor of Science from La Trobe University (majoring in Microbiology and Biochemistry) in 1983, Rob spent the first year of his career working as laboratory assistant with Carlton and United Breweries prior to further honing his skills as a Microbiologist for four years with Kraft Foods Limited. In 1989, he moved to Brisbane and worked alongside his brother with the establishment of Biotest Laboratories. Rob was Laboratory Manager, a position he held for 12 years before deciding on a sea change.
A sabbatical of approximately 12 months saw Rob and his young family travel around and explore Australia with their caravan prior to returning to Brisbane.
Seeking a change in career direction, in early 2003 Rob joined AUS-MEAT Limited as Program Manager for the National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme. Whilst Rob’s livestock industry experience was limited at the time, he took on the challenge of this new role: a role he held for six years prior to becoming involved with the management of a range of other food safety programs across the meat and horticultural industries serviced by AUS-MEAT/AUS-QUAL.
Rob’s technical expertise resulted in him being appointed as Horticulture Technical Manager. Rob’s technical skills and general food safety experience enabled him to serve as a valuable reference for auditors, clients and his peers in this role for several years up until mid-2020, when he departed AUS-MEAT/AUS-QUAL due to an internal restructure.
Without doubt one of Rob’s most endearing qualities was his genuine interest in people. Rob always took the time to engage with his friends and work colleagues. He was highly regarded by his peers and industry alike. He could always easily engage in conversation with people of all ages and all walks of life. He had a wicked sense of humour, a wonderful laugh and was one of nature’s gentlemen: an all-round nice guy.
Rob enjoyed the outdoors, travel, and most of all adventure. He was a keen cyclist, motorcyclist and enjoyed the thrill of paragliding – a sport he taken up in more recent years. Many of his cycling activities were associated with a cause for his fellow man – whether it be raising funds for organ transplant research or mental health. Rob was a regular volunteer with his time when it came to supporting his community.
As a Victorian through and through, he enjoyed the game of AFL and was a long-standing supporter of the Brisbane Lions.
He was a family man and was immensely proud of his two boys who have grown into fine young men; both having inherited the best traits of their Mum and Dad.
Rob’s passion for adventure recently resulted in his unexpected passing whilst doing what he loved – the wind in his hair and the freedom of flight – paragliding.
Rob’s attitude to life is an inspiration to many. He often said “live your best life”  – a motto that he actively followed. He is missed and will always be fondly remembered – a caring son, a great dad, a loving partner, a wonderful work colleague and a true friend.
Words by
Bruce Gormley
General Manager, AUS-MEAT & Industry Standards

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AU: Hort Innovation Labour Workforce Survey

From Hort Innovation: Hort Innovation recently began collaborating with Ernst & Young to conduct research to understand the seasonal workforce in the horticulture sector, and the long-term impacts of COVID-19.

A quick survey has been designed to gather information from growers about seasonal labour requirements. In particular, the challenges you’re facing to access seasonal workforce as a result of COVID-19, and the impact of border closures and restricted mobility.

Please submit your response by 10 August 2020.

The survey can be accessed here:

Please note that the data collected through this work is strictly confidential but will play an important role in understanding and addressing our industry’s labour requirements.


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SEA: WHO framework targets improved food safety in South East Asia

Food Safety News: The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified key priorities to improve food safety in the next five years in South East Asia.

The Framework for Action on Food Safety in the WHO South-East Asia Region covers 2020 to 2025 and has guidance for authorities across the food chain and those involved in food safety emergencies, preparedness and response. Several countries are included. More here.


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Key learnings from the CPS 2020 Research Symposium

The Center for Produce Safety in the US has prepared key learnings summaries of its Annual Research Symposium, with five sessions held over June and July 2020.

The full set of Key Learnings from the CPS Research Symposium is here. The following text is drawn from the CPS Key Learnings:

During Session 1 held on June 23, 2020, the Symposium explored the use of computer-based modelling to help address two burning issues for the produce industry: understanding potential Listeria growth and persistence in whole produce commodities and the development of sampling strategies to support the validity of assumptions surrounding microbial testing needs and design of acceptable protocols (Key Learnings Session I).

In Session 2, the Symposium expanded the knowledge base on Listeria monocytogenes and its persistence and growth on specific commodities and fresh-cut products and examined novel methods to control Listeria growth on food contact surfaces (Key Learnings Session II).

In Session 3, the Research Symposium explored projects that took wholistic, systems approaches to solving challenges with pest intrusion into leafy greens fields, pathogen transference on co-managed farms and the impact of traits associated with concepts of soil health on pathogen persistence. It also examined Cyclospora presence in the irrigation canal systems in the Yuma, AZ production region (Key Learnings Session III).

Session 4 featured the use of genomics and metagenomics to address challenges in identifying new or revisited indicators and index testing-targets of human viral pathogens that may ultimately be used in the produce industry, the distribution and relatedness of Listeria species in the U.S., and the use of that information to better understand source-risk related to facilities and product, identification of competitors of Listeria monocytogenes that might control that organism in composts, and build our knowledge base of bacterial pathogen persistence and rates of genetic diversification in the Yuma and Salinas vegetable production regions (Key Learnings Session IV).

Session 5 featured research describing the “die-off” rates of human pathogens in agricultural water from three locations around the world, the persistence of pathogens in shade-house production environments, pathogen persistence in wash water systems and the potential roleof damaged cells to contaminate washed products, the efficacy of irrigation water sanitation and the potential role of sediments in canal systems as reservoirs of human pathogens (Key Learnings Session V).

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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.

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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 produceThere is a low risk of contracting COVID-19 from fresh produce if handled by a worker who is confirmed positive for COVID-19Immediately notify the health department if a worker in the facility tests positive for COVID-19Increase 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: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources: for Food Safety at Cornell University: The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Food Industry Resources and FAQs: Zealand Food Safety Science Research Centre: MPI: Coronavirus and Food Safety on COVID-19:

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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.



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