Fresh Produce Safety Centre launches two projects

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 19th January 2015
Fresh Produce Safety Centre launches two projects
Fresh Produce Safety Centre launches two projects

University of Sydney-based research centre the Fresh Produce Safety Centre has launched two landmark research projects, which it says are aimed at improving the safety of Australian and New Zealand fresh produce.

Australian Food News reported in January 2013 that the research centre, run by the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Agriculture and Environment and the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Australia-New Zealand, had been established as part of a major project to identify a model and priorities for fresh produce safety research, awareness and the importance of enhancing current safety practices.

The two projects are:

  1. Understanding the Gaps – a Food Safety Literature Review; and
  2. The Guidelines for Fresh Produce Food Safety.

“The generous support of the fresh produce industry and food safety organisations has been the catalyst to get these vital projects up and running,” said Michael Worthington, Fresh Produce Safety Centre Chairman. “The companies and industry organisations supporting these projects know that food safety is paramount: they are tangibly demonstrating their support for fresh produce safety in Australia and New Zealand,” he said.

Guidelines project

The Fresh Produce Safety Centre said the aim of the Guidelines project was to review and update the Guidelines for On-Farm Food Safety for Fresh Produce, to expand the scope to include new topics and post-farm activities and to contain the most up-to-date information available.

Industry stakeholders have long sought a revision of the Guidelines, as the last review came in 2004.

This project has been supported by supermarket group Woolworths and the NSW Food Authority (Platinum sponsors), Freshcare (Gold sponsor) plus N2N Global, Fresh Select and AUS-QUAL (Silver sponsors).

Understanding the Gaps project

The Fresh Produce Safety Centre said the Understanding the Gaps project would engage a research provider to review the contemporary literature surrounding microbial contamination of fresh produce and the interaction of sanitisers and fungicides when used postharvest.

The Fresh Produce Safety Centre said the review will provide the fresh produce industry in Australia and New Zealand with information to improve food safety best practice and reduce the opportunity for foodborne illness.

The Understanding the Gaps project has been supported by Pipfruit NZ and the NSW Food Authority (Full Research Partners) plus Fresh Select and GSF Australasia/Snap Fresh Foods (Associate Research Partners).

The Understanding the Gaps report will be released mid-year, while the revised Guidelines will be launched in the third quarter of 2015.

“The Fresh Produce Safety Centre has been established by industry to enhance fresh produce safety throughout Australia and New Zealand: with these projects, we will deliver the resources that industry has identified as top priorities,” Mr Worthington said.

The Fresh Produce Safety Centre’s supporters are:

Platinum supporters: Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd, PMA Australia-New Zealand Limited, University of Sydney, Woolworths Ltd.

Silver supporters: Freshcare Limited, Harris Farm Markets Pty Ltd, Horticulture New Zealand, Perfection Fresh Australia Pty Ltd, Primo Moraitis Fresh Pty Limited.

Bronze supporters: Australian Mango Industry Association (AMIA), Chamber of Fruit & Vegetable Industries in Western Australia (Inc),  GS1 Australia Ltd, Kalfresh Pty Ltd, Living Foods NZ, MG Marketing Limited and LaManna Limited, Mulgowie Farming Company, OneHarvest Pty Ltd, Premier Fruits Group Pty Ltd, Sci Qual International Pty Ltd, TQA Australia.