Food Safety and Quality Assurance
Further information on food safety and quality assurance can be found through the following links;
Quality assured fresh produce is about ensuring food is safe to eat! Commonly, customers and the supply chain require compliance with specific programs for this purpose. There are also regulations and requirements that control access to specific markets.
Contaminated fresh produce can cause serious harm; such as food poisoning or injury. Quality assurance systems provide the framework to prevent harm from occurring and maintain the clean and green reputation of Australian fresh produce.
Customers often require supply chain members (including growers) to comply with specific quality assurance programs. These programs are usually based on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) method of risk assessment and mitigation.
Core food safety elements of such schemes include product identification and traceability, chemical management, water quality, equipment and materials, cleaning and pest control, personal hygiene, food safety training and annual auditing. Common quality assurance programs in Australia are detailed here.
A major industry initiative is the Harmonised Australian Retailer Produce Scheme (HARPS). HARPS aligns the food safety requirements of Australia’s major retailers to reduce the costs and stress associated with the adoption, maintenance and auditing of multiple food safety systems by individual direct suppliers to multiple retail customers in Australia. For more information see HARPS
AUSVEG acts in a consultative and representative capacity for horticultural producers in a number of areas (see our purpose) including food safety. AUSVEG also supports safe food production through actions such as;
- supporting the Fresh Produce Safety Centre (Gold level supporter),
- as an owner/member of Freshcare (industry owned on-farm assurance program),
- involvement in industry forums such as the Food Regulation Standing Committee (FRSC) roundtable discussions,
- housing the vegetable industry crisis management team
- facilitating and training for quality assurance compliance
Enquires can be directed to:
E: firstname.lastname@example.org or ph: 03 9882 0277
Food safety in Australia is governed by the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code), part of the Australian Government’s Health portfolio. The Code and its standards are legislative instruments with compliance monitored by state and territory governments. The Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is responsible for the inspection and sampling of imported food.
See the following links for more information
For more information on regulation see Current Regulatory Arrangements
The Fresh Produce Safety Centre Ltd is an industry-led, not-for-profit company established to enhance fresh produce food safety across Australia and New Zealand through research, outreach and education.
The Centre is funded and led by the fresh produce industries in Australia and New Zealand. It was established by the Produce Marketing Association Australia-New Zealand (PMA A-NZ) through a project with the University of Sydney. This project was funded by Hort Innovation with voluntary and in-kind contributions from industry, the University and PMA A-NZ.
AUSVEG is a Gold supporter of the Fresh Produce Safety Centre and is committed to strengthening collaboration on the critical issue of food safety in the fresh produce industry.
Developed through the FPSC, the Guidelines for Fresh Produce Food Safety
incorporate the latest research findings to achieve greater consistency in the
development, implementation and auditing for fresh produce food safety programs.
The guidelines were last updated in 2015.
AUSVEG collects expressions of interest for businesses who wish to receive training for quality assurance purposes, such as Freshcare or HACCP training. For more information follow this link
To produce safe food, there needs to be a ‘food safety culture’; where all members of a business think and act with food safety as the top priority. It’s important to have a strong food safety culture in order to protect;
- consumers from an unsafe product,
- the reputation of your brand and the broader industry in which it operates and,
- your business from financial loss.
Commitment over compliance epitomises a good food safety culture whereby the everyone is committed to delivering safe food and not only to meeting compliance requirements.
To deliver a safe food culture the understanding and responsibility needs to start at the top and be taken up by all members of the organisation. If you want to develop this culture it is important to; understand your current culture, use effective leadership to make positive commitments and track the implementation for effective follow through.
To help with the development of food safety culture see the following resources and sources of information:
- FSANZ – Food safety culture resources
- FPSC – Food Safety culture articles
- Cultivate – Food Safety culture literature