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Fresh Produce Food Safety

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 a recent industry conference and trade show, the guidelines are designed to assist all entities involved in the fresh produce supply chain to identify and assess potential food safety hazards.

The Guidelines for Fresh Produce Food Safety 2019 will ensure Australian produce has the highest safety standards of any produce anywhere in the world. These guidelines set out the procedures and steps to prevent or respond to contamination, and covers a comprehensive list of practices and potential hazards to assist growers, packers, transporters, wholesalers and retailers along the supply chain

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 supply 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 produce supply chain.