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US: Researchers uncover how Salmonella infects plants before harvest

Food Safety News: Scientists in India have discovered how Salmonella enters plants to cause pre-harvest contamination of produce. Researchers found Salmonella enters through a gap created when a lateral root branches out from the plant’s main root and that it can penetrate the deeper layer of the root. This is different to other disease-causing bacteria that enter the root, fruit or leaf by producing enzymes to break down the plant’s cell wall.

NZ: Horticulture supports harsher penalties for food contamination

Horticulture New Zealand: Horticulture New Zealand supports a Member’s Bill, announced today, that will introduce harsher penalties for people who intentionally contaminate food, or threaten to do so. "Recently, we have seen some incidents of intentional contamination of fruit in both Australia and New Zealand and people need to understand the full and serious implications of such sabotage," Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says.

US: Outbreak of E. coli Infections Linked to Romaine Lettuce

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Traceback information from the FDA indicated that ill people in this outbreak ate romaine lettuce harvested from specific counties in the Central Coastal growing regions of northern and central California. The FDA, along with CDC and state partners, investigated farms and cooling facilities in California that were identified in traceback. CDC analyzed water and sediment samples from an Adam Bros. Farming, Inc. farm in Santa Barbara County, which was one of the farms identified in the traceback investigation. The outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 was found in sediment within an agricultural water reservoir on the farm. As of January 9, 2019, this outbreak appears to be over.

FPSC A-NZ Annual Conference 2019

The 2019 Annual Conference will be held on Thursday 8 August 2019 in Sydney. More details to come.

FPSC A-NZ Announces New Board Directors

On Wednesday 19 December 2018 at the FPSC A-NZ AGM, two new board directors were endorsed.

The FPSC A-NZ board along with myself welcome Dr Jocelyn Eason and Brendan Hayes as incoming board directors.

Thank you to all the applicants for the board roles. It is pleasing to have such a strong field of talent with which to inform the selection process.

And special thanks to outgoing board directors Catherine Richardson and Belinda Hazell for their time and commitment in serving the Centre.

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AU: A barcoded apple is more important than you may realise

Food & Beverage Magazine: What is the significance of barcoding every single apple in a mountain of fruit at the supermarket? It seems a tedious process when an apple is surely just an apple. But, an apple is much more than what is seen at face value. It comes with a history – a place of origin, a past in which it was grown in specific soil and shipped in a certain container. This is valuable information, even for the humble apple, as a food recall could affect any product at any time.

Seeking Director Nominations

The Centre has recently undertaken a major strategic review and is forging a dynamic new pathway as the leading organisation in food safety in the Australasian fresh produce industry.

Under its Constitution, two Directors are required to retire annually and are eligible to re-nominate for election. Therefore, FPSC A-NZ is seeking nominations to fill two Board vacancies, one from Australia and one from New Zealand (to become effective as from 19 December 2018). These are voluntary roles. The Board meets four times per year – usually twice by teleconference.

Candidates should have a sound knowledge of the fresh produce industry and experience in working on boards and/or industry advisory boards.

Skillsets to include one or more of food safety, innovation, R&D, communication, marketing, events, funds procurement and fresh produce operations.

Interested candidates should complete the Director Nomination Form and return to info@fpsc-anz.com no later than 5pm Tuesday 11 December 2018.

Understanding Good Food Safety Culture

A strong food safety culture will prevent further outbreaks, says Dr Pieternel Luning, visiting from Wageningen University in the Netherlands. However, it is unlikely we will ever reach zero.

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Food Safety Culture Top Tips

  1. Take an assessment of your current food safety culture – what’s happening, what isn’t
    1. Employee characteristics (food safety attitudes & values, food risk perceptions)
    2. Organisational characteristics (leadership, commitment, communication style, food safety/hygiene procedures)
    3. Food safety management system (design & operation)
    4. Facilitative technological resources (protective clothing, food safety/hygiene tools)
  2. Look at what you can actually see within an organisation
    1. Values on display
    2. Hygiene facilities
    3. Understanding of procedures
  3. People, process, purpose, practicality – think about these four areas when creating the right food safety culture in your organisation.

US: FDA says poor records stalled outbreak work; feedlot likely source of E. coli

Food Safety News: Federal officials won’t say definitively that contaminated canal water was behind this year’s deadly E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce, but they are saying they “found no evidence in support of alternative explanations.” Another point made clear in an outbreak investigation report released yesterday puts the FDA firmly on record when it comes to antiquated shipping and receiving recordkeeping used by many in the leafy greens industry.

NZ: How to Determine the Shelf Life of Food

NZ Ministry for Primary Industries: This guidance document has been developed to help operators to determine the shelf life of their food products and to apply the appropriate date marking. It provides useful information to assist operators preparing and handling foods for retail sale. Any legal requirements are shown in boxes with quotation marks.

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