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AU/NZ: Fresh Produce Safety Conference resounding successs

At the Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia & New Zealand conference on 12 August 2015 at the University of Sydney, over 100 delegates heard a wide range of presentations on recent research findings on fresh produce safety from local and international researchers and industry speakers.

Titled Advancing research and outreach for safe, fresh food, the conference addressed the issues of microbial contamination of fresh berries and leafy greens, and three in-depth case studies that are relevant to the fresh produce industries in Australia and New Zealand.

The presentation by Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Dr Laura Strawn, from Virginia Tech, USA, created a great deal of interest, enthusiasm and discussion. She looked at the role of technology in future food safety, outlining opportunities presented by big data, and touching on some neat technologies being employed or investigated for food safety applications.

Delegates workshopped priority setting for the next round of research proposals, exploring how to support further research on fresh produce safety, and how to extend research findings to those who need to know throughout Australia and New Zealand.

International speaker, Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli  from the Center for Produce Safety in the US, tackled current challenges for US food safety research, and described how these related to the Australasian situation.

Editors of the new Guidelines for fresh produce food safety, which was launched on the evening prior to the conference, presented detail on new information the industry needs to know to improve food safety outcomes.

FPSC Chairman, Michael Worthington, praised the contribution made by all the speakers, and thanked the conference partners: Department of Industry and FreshTest Australia; and conference sponsors: Houston’s Farm, Aus-Qual Pty Ltd, Pipfruit New Zealand, FIAL, AgSafe, Sci Qual International, and Heat and Control.