2019 fresh food safety guidelines released
The Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia & New Zealand (FPSC A-NZ) has released an updated version of the Guidelines for Fresh Produce Food Safety. Launched at the industry conference and trade show Hort Connections, the guidelines are designed to assist all entities involved in the fresh produce supply chain to identify and assess potential food safety hazards.
Melbourne Market Authority Chair Peter Tuohey said, “The Guidelines for Fresh Produce Food Safety 2019 ensure Australian produce has the highest safety standards of any produce anywhere in the world.”
Acknowledging that Australian horticulture had seen some damage in recent years via contamination and tampering that impacted producers, retailers and exporters, Tuohey commented that the industry continues to evolve and change the standards within the guidelines to meet consumer expectations.
“These guidelines set out the procedures and steps to prevent or deal with contaminations, and covers a comprehensive list of practices and potential hazards to assist growers, packers, transporters, wholesalers and retailers along the supply chain,” Tuohey said.
The needles in strawberries scare of 2018 was an example of an incident that caused damage to the strawberry industry, resulting in supermarkets pulling strawberries off shelves and tonnes of fruit being thrown away at the peak of the growing season. Investigations by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) identified potential weaknesses in the supply chain, resulting in several recommendations to government and industry outlined in the strawberry tampering incident report.
With so many links in the chain, it can be difficult to identify where a particular hazard originated, hence the need for a comprehensive set of guidelines applicable to the entire network of supply chain businesses.
The Guidelines for Fresh Produce Food Safety were developed through the expertise and knowledge of the FPSC A-NZ’s technical committee and can be viewed here.
FPSC A-NZ’s Jessica Purbrick commented, “As custodians of the guidelines, the FPSC A-NZ ensures that with each updated version we are enhancing Australia and New Zealand’s fresh produce reputation.”
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