The Australian Food and Grocery Council has submitted an application to request consideration of maximum residue limits (MRLs) for agricultural chemicals concerned with individually quick frozen (IQF) blueberries and raspberries imported from Chile.
The request is made to address a need for sourcing competitively priced ingredients in a convenient format for consumers wishing to incorporate blueberries and raspberries into their diets.
The chemicals for which the MRLs are requested are Azoxystrobin (blueberry); Fenhexamid (blueberry); Fludioxonil (blueberry) and Bifenthrin (raspberry).
These chemicals are already permitted to be used in Australia for other commodities.
Read the executive summary here.
Read about the submission in more detail.
The FPS A&NZ have made available the final report summarising the outcomes from the project “A New Collaborative Paradigm for Fresh Produce Safety”. This project was funding by the University of Sydney and the Produce Marketing Association Australia and New Zealand (PMA A-NZ) with matched funding from the Australian Government, accessed through Horticulture Australia Limited.
You can download the report here and read about the outcomes of the many activities conducted in the year.
A primary objective for FPS A&NZ was to scope out the feasibility for a dedicated body to identify research needs and provide appropriate food safety solutions for the Australian fresh produce Industry.
FPS A&NZ has made strong progress towards this objective and it was decided to survey the industry to determine the level of support for the establishment of a Fresh Produce Safety Centre. The survey was sent to the entire list of individuals who have registered to receive regular newsletters from FPS A&NZ, representing a large range of sectors in the fresh produce industry.
The survey contained questions aimed at gauging industry’s in-principle support for the establishment of a Fresh Produce Safety Centre; whether the University of Sydney was an appropriate ‘base’ for the Centre; what should be the overarching role of the Centre; and what were the priorities for food safety research.
From the responses, there was overwhelming support, in principle, for the establishment of a Fresh Produce Safety Centre (98%) and for it to be “housed” at the University of Sydney (95%).
The survey also revealed that the role of the proposed Centre was to call and manage research in food safety and importantly to provide industry wide education and information and news on fresh produce safety, while representing the industry on regulatory matters was the most unpopular role for the Centre. Results like this provide information that will assist in ensuring that the roles of other organisations will not be duplicated.
Research priorites needed to address the gaps in knowledge in food safety covers a wide variety of areas, but the top three topics as chosen by the respondents were Microbial contamination on-farm followed by topics Pathogens in the postharvest supply chain and Water – Postharvest.
The survey unequivocally indicated that there is widespread support for the establishment of a Fresh Produce Safety Centre for the whole fresh fruit and vegetable industries that will identify and conduct industry-driven research projects and provide valuable information, education and outreach on all aspects of fresh produce safety.
Download the full survey report here.
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.
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.