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Government report on leafy greens food safety released

Thursday, 3 August 2017
PMA A-NZ Media Release

An important paper that discusses opportunities to improve the food safety of leafy green salads has been released. Prepared by staff from the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) following extensive industry consultation, the report examines the production and processing factors that contribute to foodborne illness related to salads. The report’s main focus, however, is on strategies that will deliver improved food safety performance by industry.

The key outcomes of the report are as follows:

  • The report did not identify serious systemic or sector-wide food safety issues.
  • The report found that the industry has good agriculture practice, food safety standards and guidance materials available to growers.
  • There are issues around the adequacy of the evidence base, oversight and industry culture in relation to food safety in the production of leafy greens.
  • Governments and industry are already undertaking activities to address the issues identified. These efforts are essential to maintain and improve the food safety of leafy greens.
  • A focus on industry support and education is the most effective way of reducing the likelihood of any future food safety incidents.

The report acknowledges the important roles being played by industry organisations such as PMA Australia-New Zealand, the Fresh Produce Safety Centre A-NZ, the Fresh Salad Producers’ Group and AUSVEG but identifies that more needs to be done.

DEDJTR Senior Policy Analyst Neil McSkimming will be presenting to the Fresh Produce Safety Centre Food Safety Conference next week (9th August: see www.fpsc2017.com) on the report, highlighting the need for greater risk management evidence, the need for more guidance and oversight, and the imperative to embed a culture of food safety throughout the industry.

The report On-farm food safety of leafy greens report September 2016 can be accessed [here].
 

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