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AU/NZ: Innovations in fresh produce safety conference a resounding success

The Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia & New Zealand organised an impressive line-up of speakers to present at its third annual Fresh Produce Safety Conference at the University of Sydney on 10 August. They presented to a capacity audience of over 140 people which included industry people, regulators, students and researchers.

Focusing on Innovation in fresh food safety, the conference informed delegates about latest and near-future technologies and techniques that represent the next phase of fresh produce safety and provided valuable opportunities for networking and information-sharing.

Australasian and international speakers tackled issues facing todays producers and researchers, and detailed the lessons learnt from recent food safety crises here and abroad, including the very topical Salmonella on melons.

The keynote address was given by Trevor Suslow, Extension Research Specialist at the University of California, by video link (after last minute flight problems in the US). He examined global technology advances in food safety. This was followed by a detailed look at innovative techniques and technologies to better manage food safety, such as rapid testing technology and next generation sequencing.

Industry delegates were particularly interested in practical solutions on food safety issues, including sanitation of freshcut products and safe use of animal wastes for compost in horticulture.

Bill Marler, a major force in food safety policy in the United States and abroad, addressed foodborne illness litigation, with some sobering case studies of what happens when food safety is neglected.

In a technology showcase, Todd Gordon delivered a lively address on the latest technologies to combat food fraud, and Joe Giblin spoke on how to keep pace with IT requirements.

Belinda Millard and Tristan Kitchener presented details about the new Harmonised Australian Retailer Produce Scheme due to start this year, which will streamline fresh produce safety requirements across the supply chain.

The presentations sparked spirited discussion in the networking sessions during and immediately following the conference.

‘The support the conference, and the Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia & New Zealand, have received is testimony to the importance industry places on delivering first class, safe-to-eat fresh produce,’ said Michael Worthington, Chairman of the Fresh Produce Safety Centre and CEO of PMA A-NZ. ‘The enthusiastic engagement with the presentations of those attending the conference clearly demonstrates the value of the conference—both in providing information and an opportunity to network.’

‘We appreciate the generous contributions made by all the speakers, the conference partners and sponsors, and the Centre’s supporters, all of whom helped make this event so valuable and instructive,’ said Mr Worthington.

Many of the presentations from the conference will be available online shortly after the event.

Conference sponsors

The FPSC thanks its conference partners: Department of Industry and FreshTest Australia (FMA); and its conference sponsors: Houston’s Farm, Zespri, Aus-Qual, Symbio Laboratories, Perfection Fresh, NZGAP, Coles, Woolworths, Metcash, AgSafe, Heat and Control and DTS Food Laboratories.

The Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia and New Zealand

The Fresh Produce Safety Centre is an industry-led, not-for-profit company established to enhance fresh produce safety across Australia and New Zealand through research, outreach and education. The Centre is hosted by the University of Sydney in partnership with PMA A‑NZ.

The 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 | Zespri Kiwifruit

Bronze supporters: AsureQuality | 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 | OneHarvest Pty Ltd | Premier Fruits Group Pty Ltd | Sci Qual International Pty Ltd | FMA Fresh Markets Australia | Freshmax Group

Contact

For further information please contact FPSC Executive Officer Carmel Shanahan  on +61 02 8627 1058 / +61 409 659 543 or FPSC Chair Michael Worthington, CEO, PMA Australia-New Zealand, on +61 03 8844 5536.