Fresh Hub – Food Safety & Quality, Survey and IVA Newsletter

Fresh Hub is the AgriChain Centre’s own regular communication tool for Food Businesses & Produce Handlers.

We aim to inform and assist produce staff in understanding how to handle the produce to be sure it reaches the consumer in the optimum condition to ensure repeat sales. We also provide the latest developments in the area of Food Safety & Quality, Survey and IVA and assist in understanding how food businesses can satisfy all requirements.

Click here to view our archive of previous newsletters, or scroll down to view the latest food safety articles.

FRESH HUB 9 MAY 2019 – FOOD SAFETY

Welcome to Fresh Hub: our Fresh Produce Newsletter. Our Food safety issue looks at some ongoing challenges for the fresh produce industry.

This edition, we cover:

Food Fraud French Italian Kiwifruit Style

Food fraud is a concern in the food industry worldwide. Food fraud is often associated with economically motivated adulteration, including substitution, mislabelling, unapproved enhancements, and dilution.

A recent food fraud of mislabelling the country of origin on kiwifruit has brought attention to the issue. French kiwifruits were approximately 40% more expensive than Italian kiwifruits, making it worthwhile to fraudulently change the country of origin to France. An investigation was undertaken to explain a sudden flood of “French” kiwifruits on the market at the end of the French kiwifruit season. It was discovered a portion of these kiwifruits were actually Italian. This food fraud netted several million Euros in additional profit for the people involved.

Several compliance programmes increasingly require a systematic review to monitor the risk of food fraud. These are called Vulnerability Assessment and Critical Control Points (VACCP). VACCP focuses on food fraud prevention.  The aim is to identify vulnerable points in the supply chain to prevent any potential adulteration of food.

Need help or want to know more? Contact Anne-Marie Arts by phone on 09-414-4536, or by email at amarts@agrichain-centre.com.

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What Is Validation and Why Does It Matter?

Food businesses operating under the Food Act 2018 have been migrating their old Food Safety Programmes to Food Control Plans (FCPs), as required under the Food Act 2014. During the transition, existing programmes are receiving an in depth-review by the evaluator involved. One of the challenges can be substantially increased validation requirements.

Validation is the process of collecting evidence to show that your Food Control Plan (FCP) is capable of consistently producing the desired outcome. Evidence provided could be in the form of a scientific article, technical information or records. The validation procedure can range from simple to very complex depending on the product or process to be validated. The less common and more complex the process, the more challenging validation can be.

Validation is required to prove the effectiveness of the FCP and ensure that products produced are fit for intended purpose and meet relevant regulatory requirements. Validation can also be used to provide assurance that food safety hazards are effectively managed.

Some examples of sources of validation evidence are:

  • The Food Standards Code from New Zealand food legislation
  • Codes of Practice, such as Cold and Dry Stores COP
  • Published scientific literature
  • Industry agreed criteria
  • Company owned validation research and trials

Remember: validation is often not about simply running trials in your process. Validation involves designing a robust experiment to show the data you have collected is statistically valid and how you subsequently analyse your data to determine if the desired outcomes have been achieved.

Need help or want to know more? Contact Anne-Marie Arts by phone on 09-414-4536, or by email at amarts@agrichain-centre.com.

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Why are there challenges with Fresh Produce Food Safety?

Fresh produce can be contaminated by a range of microorganisms (viruses, bacteria and fungi). Salmonella, Hepatitis A, E coli, Yersinia (pseudotuberculosis) and Listeria have all been implicated in outbreaks on fresh produce in New Zealand.

It is very difficult to get solid data on fresh produce. However, when a food borne illness outbreak occurs, this often becomes a national or multi-state event. The reason for this, in part, relates to the diverse logistics and distribution systems utilised to move fresh produce.

Some of the reasons for the high rate of illnesses attributed to fresh produce are:

  • Significantly increased fresh produce consumption
  • Increased consumption of raw fresh produce (e.g. salads)
  • International distribution networks of fresh produce mean that outbreaks can quickly spread internationally
  • Increased numbers of immunocompromised people in the population
  • The time between harvest and consumption can be very extended, increasing the contamination window
  • Historically, legislative requirements for fresh produce food safety management have not been as comprehensive as those for meat or dairy products
  • Low paid seasonal workers who may not be well trained and are often transient
  • Poor access to adequate bathroom and hand washing facilities on farms or orchards
  • Poor staff training
  • A lack of understanding of the risks that fresh produce can be exposed to by all staff involved

We have been working the fresh produce food safety area for many years and see beyond tick the box compliance.

Need help or want to know more? Contact Anne-Marie Arts by phone on 09-414-4536, or by email at amarts@agrichain-centre.com.

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Basic Food Hygiene Training

Basic food safety and hygiene training is required for all food handlers in New Zealand under the Food Act 2014. The food handler is required to understand basic food safety, have a reasonable knowledge of how to handle food properly and understand the importance of providing safe food.

How do I train my staff? What works in the training? Am I competent enough to train? When it comes to basic food hygiene training for staff members, some company managers or owners wonder what the best way to train staff is.

Basic Food Safety training normally covers the importance of providing safe and suitable food, the impact of food-borne illness, food safety hazards, cross contamination and personal hygiene.

Equally as important as understanding basic hazards however, is ensuring staff know when and how to speak up if they see something going wrong. Creating an environment where staff feel comfortable and safe to speak up.

After a successfully conducted training session, staff should be able to practice safe food skills including personal hygiene in your workplace and understand correct cleaning procedures to minimise these risks.

Food hygiene training helps staff to gain the proper knowledge required to handle food products safely, and to take actions to unexpected events that may affect the safety of foods and occur in the workplace.

Do you need help with your staff training or want to know more? Contact Anne-Marie Arts by phone on 09-414-4536, or by email at amarts@agrichain-centre.com.

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Fresh Hub newsletter (PDF) archives:

Issue 18 – Mid April 2019

Issue 17 – Early April 2019

Issue 16 – Late March 2019

Issue 15 – Early March 2019

Issue 14 – February 2019

Issue 13 – September 2018

Issue 12 – June 2018

Issue 11 – March 2018

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Please contact us with any enquiries: Freephone 0800 24 74 24
email us: info@agrichain-centre.com

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