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 MARCH 2019 – IVA EDITION

Welcome to Fresh Hub: our Fresh Produce Newsletter. This IVA issue is focused on updates in the Phytosanitary space.

This month, we cover:

FRUIT FLY INCURSIONS IN AUCKLAND

The mere mention of fruit fly sends shivers down the spines of anyone involved in the Horticultural industry. Multiple finds in the space of weeks in Auckland is close to our worst nightmare.

Almost all export growers will also be supplying to the domestic market in some way shape or form. Movement controls are in place in the three Fruit Fly affected areas in Auckland.

MPI have established an Export Restriction Zone (ERZ) of 3.2km around the Controlled Area. This means export consignments of Queensland fruit fly host material must meet additional requirements to move through the ERZ and be eligible for export. These consignments must be contained in an insect-proofed environment and some additional documentation provided.

 MPI have prepared the following information and guidance about the ERZ and transit requirements:

 The industry is working extremely hard to remain informed, meet any requests from Biosecurity New Zealand and support the control efforts. More information can be found here.

Domestically the fresh produce industry has had a crisis response plan in place for several years in the event off a fruit fly find in the Mt Wellington Area. More information can be found here.

 

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PHYTOSANITARY INSPECTION TRAINING

One of the challenges for packhouses that operate seasonally, is to retain Phytosanitary staff from one season to another. Therefore, the training of new staff before the start a season is critical.

Training of Phytosanitary inspectors, post-inspection security staff and other staff involved in Phytosanitary activities as part of your MPI Approved Organisation (MAO) system is important to ensure operating procedures are followed and that staff are properly prepared for the competency assessment.

The AgriChain Centre has developed a customised on-site training programme to assist Fresh Produce packhouse staff undertaking phytosanitary activities to understand their role within their organisation.

This course is suitable for anyone who is part of your MAO system including phytosanitary inspectors, packhouse managers, and system administrators.

Why Customised?

We are finding that packhouse staff can benefit and learn more from hands on training specific to their MAO system and operations, rather than taking a “one-size-fits-all” training held in a classroom. Every MAO has a unique way to operate and each staff member has different learning styles. The timing of when the training takes place can also be selected to suit your organisation.

About the Training

This is a one-day training course, but it can be extended as required, based on the needs of the MAO system. Topics like food safety and quality control can also be included, as required.

Training is held at your packhouse / facility with the trainer travelling to you.

The training includes:

  • An introduction to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) certification system
  • Understanding your own packhouse operating system
  • Competency requirements for inspectors
  • Sampling, inspection and decision-making processes & methodologies
  • Documents & records administration and management
  • Pests of concern to your product
  • MPI audit requirements
  • Practical hands-on training

Course attendees will be provided with a print-out of the presentation and a certificate of attendance.

Contact Max for more information: mciccioni@agrichain-centre.com, or phone 027 445 1309.

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MANAGING MAO INSPECTION EQUIPMENT

Phytosanitary and Quality Control staff use equipment every day to carry out their job. Equipment can include scales, thermometer, refractometer, luxmeter, penetrometer etc.

The accuracy of measuring devices degrades over time depending on the instrument and the environment in which it is used. Taking care of your equipment may seem to take time that is not returning any value, however as the saying goes “a tradesman is only as good as his tools”.

The MPI Technical Standard: Phytosanitary Inspection requires all measuring equipment to be accurately calibrated and any correction factors identified and implemented. Failure to meet these requirements can lead to Non-Conformances (NC) during audits (both internal and external).

Equipment that is not calibrated can potentially provide your business with incorrect data thus leading to the wrong business decision. Some examples of issues caused by malfunctioning equipment could be:

  • scales unable to identify the accurate weight boxes leading to underweight boxes
  • luxmeters allowing poor light at phytosanitary inspection benches leading to pests not being detected
  • thermometers recording incorrect temperatures leading to produce being stored at the wrong temperature causing shorter shelf life and product breakdown.

Calibration should be completed annually at a minimum. However, it is recommended to carry out regular verification checks of equipment. Verification could be done by comparing two pieces of the same equipment against each other to ensure they are reading the same value or using standard weights for equipment like scales.

If equipment does not measure correctly label it with “NOT WORKING“, put it aside and make sure that it does not get used by staff.

Remember, external or internal calibration and verification needs to be recorded (and kept in file) for future reference and audit purposes. The equipment itself should also have an indication of the last calibration date.

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Fresh Hub newsletter (PDF) archives:

Issue 14 – February 2019

Issue 13 – September 2018

Issue 12 – June 2018

Issue 11 – March 2018

Issue 10 – Sept 2017

Issue 9 – April 2017

Issue 8 – November 2016

Issue 7 – August 2016

Issue 6 – April 2016

Issue 5 – August 2015

Issue 4 – March 2015

Issue 3 – November 2014

Issue 2 – March 2014

Issue 1 – October 2013

August 2013

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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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