A new fresh produce safety centre for Australia and New Zealand
Fresh fruit and vegetables are perceived to be healthy and nutritious however, because many products are eaten raw, the risk of illness to the consumer is high. Prevention of foodborne illness relies on local evidence-based research to underpin the quality assurance systems that make our fresh produce safe. However, in Europe and the US, the inadequacy of these systems was brought into sharp focus with several recent outbreaks of serious illness associated with the fresh produce industry. In 2008 in the US, after a major spinach contamination, the fresh produce industry, University of California, Davis (UC Davis) and the US Produce Marketing Association (PMA) established the Centre for Produce Safety (CPS) to provide a focus for industry-based research and extension. For the past six years the CPS has commissioned and translated research that provides the produce industry with practical, on the ground strategies that are implemented at every level of the supply chain. We identified that there was limited fresh produce safety research related to the Australian and New Zealand context. Awareness of food safety was promoted by the regulatory body, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), various Quality Assurance programs and Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited (HIAL). Despite these programs, there was a degree of complacency and food safety issues were low on the list of priorities. In 2014 the Australian and New Zealand fresh produce industry, PMA A-NZ, The University of Sydney and HIAL established an industry funded and managed Fresh Produce Safety Centre (FPSC) to provide research on food safety concerns that face horticultural and associated industries. This presentation will outline the rationale for establishing the FPSC, its research priorities and the benefits it provides to the whole fresh produce supply chain.
McConchie, R., Walters, E. and Worthington, M. (2018). A new fresh produce safety centre for Australia and New Zealand. Acta Hortic. 1213, 481-488
fresh produce, safety Australia, New Zealand