AIFST Fresh Produce Food Safety Summit

Fresh produce are an essential component of a healthy diet and the fresh produce industry is a vital component of Australia’s agriculture.

As we strive nationally to increase consumption of produce in general we have to ensure also that they are as safe as possible with regard to food safety hazards.

This summit brought the fresh produce supply chain together with regulators and scientists to discuss trends in produce related food safety.

The actions needed to ensure our fresh produce is as safe as possible for our consumers were also considered.

This is a summary of the meeting, the presentations and outcomes.

AIFST Fresh Produce Food Safety Summit 2007
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Robert Premier from the Victorian Department of Primary Industries provided an overview of challenges and emerging knowledge of microbiological hazards and fresh produce.

Rob presented data on the microbiological load on vegetables and the pitfalls of misinterpretation when testing for bacterial indicators of hygiene and safety if inappropriate tests are performed and inadequate sampling plans are used.

He emphasised, using their research data as illustration, that sanitisers are able to reduce but not eliminate bacterial contaminants.

The risk of contamination is increased when leafy vegetables are damaged and the different integuments, matrices and internalisation of bacteria will influence the site of microbial contamination, bacterial growth and/or survival.

Key outcomes:

1. There is a need to work toward national agreed food safety goals for fresh produce along the
food continuum from farm to consumer with alignment of all programs including those of:

a. FSANZ Standard Development Committee for Primary Production and Processing
Standard for Plant and Plant Products

b. HAL (Horticulture Australia Limited), AUF (Australian United Fresh Fruit and
Vegetable Association), (HAC) Horticulture Australia Council

2. The science underpinning regulations and requirements for fresh produce safety must be robust
e.g. FSANZ initial assessment report.

3. An Incidence Response Protocol (a guidance document for responding to a range of food
incidents in a timely, appropriate, consistent and coordinated manner) that will include all

4. Investment is required for research into management tools for food safety and quality of fresh
produce e.g. monitoring control points for safety and for quality measures that are rapid and

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