The Guidelines for Fresh Produce Food Safety is a new essential resource for growers, packers, wholesalers, retailers, trainers, consultants, auditors, standard owners and regulators, ensuring greater certainty and consistency in the development, implementation and auditing of fresh produce food safety programs.
The Guidelines includes information and tools for use across the fresh produce value chain for Australia and New Zealand. FPSC’s consultation with the fresh produce industry identified this as a high priority investment.
The immediate benefits to the fresh produce industries in Australia and New Zealand is an up-to-date reference resource that supports the harmonisation of food safety practices and programs.
Other resources available
The Understanding the Gaps Literature Review Project (UtG) examines five priority areas identified by the FPSC in consultation with industry, government and the research community. It provides fresh produce industries in Australia and New Zealand with an up-to-date exmaination of the scientific literature and highlights priority questions for industry for further research.
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Written by Dr. Bob Whitaker
The seventh annual CPS Research Symposium was held in Seattle, WA on June 28-29, 2016. As in years past, the produce safety research community came together to share the latest results from CPS-funded programs and to discuss how the data can be used to build risk and science-based food safety programs for produce companies all along the supply chain. The interpretation of food safety research results and application to individual companies is most appropriately the undertaking of those that reside within those specific operations. However, we highlight these key learnings from the CPS Symposium to create awareness and stimulate thought.
- It is important to learn from illness outbreaks and recalls to prevent repeating the same mistakes.
- Generic E. coli has limitations as an indicator for irrigation water quality.
- Alternative microbial water quality indicators and indexing organisms are on the horizon.
- It is important to sample irrigation water sources correctly.
- Irrigation water sources can be treated with disinfectants, but... If a grower finds an irrigation water source that is out of compliance, it would be desirable to be able to treat the water to mitigate the problem.
- Validation and verification – know the difference.
- The search for surrogates continues.
- Bacterial detection is not really the problem, separating the pathogen from the other bacteria is the key.
- The challenge of balancing the risk of animal intrusion and conservation is benefiting from emerging data acquisition technologies and understanding of the impact of the environment on pathogen growth and persistence.
- Understanding the genetics and gene expression in production environments will drive the next level of understanding in produce food safety.
This work is meant to inform and provoke thought with an eye towards inspiring readers to examine their own food safety programs and using the research to make improvements. It is not meant as a directive on what must be done to produce safe food. As discussed in several places in this paper, food safety needs to be determined on an operation by operation basis; there are no one size fits all solutions. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact Dr. Bob Whitaker, PMA Chief Science and Technology Officer (email@example.com) or Dr. Jim Gorny, PMA Vice President of Food Safety and Technology (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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Access additional resources on Fresh Produce Food Safety via the PMA A-NZ Information Centre.
This fact sheet has been prepared by The Fresh Produce Safety Centre A-NZ (FPSC) and PMA A-NZ staff, principally food safety expert Richard Bennett, to outline and address the main issues and concerns raised by the outbreak of foodborne illness attributed to hepatitis A virus (HAV) in Australia. At least ten people have been confirmed as infected as at 18th February 2015.
Recall notices published by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) were as follows:
- 14/02/15 3:54 pm Nanna’s Mixed Berries 1kg
- 15/02/15 1:08 pm Creative Gourmet Mixed Berries 300g and 500g
- 16/02/15 8:02 pm Nanna’s Raspberries 1kg
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Find out more and download the Frozen Berries Hepatitis A Virus Outbreak Fact Sheet via the FPSC website.
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Additional resources on food safety and traceability are available via the PMA A-NZ Information Centre.
This presentation by PMA A-NZ Technology Manager Richard Bennett looks at food safety and product recall issues in the fresh produce sector, addressing questions including:
- How vulnerable is fresh produce to a recall?
- How good are our QA and traceability systems?
- Do we need more regulation?
- What developments are going to help with recall?
The session also featured presentations from Food Standards Australia - New Zealand (FSANZ), Coles, Fresh Select, Clifford Hallam Healthcare, and GS1 Australia. The full set of presentations is available via the PMA A-NZ Information Centre.
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