Auckland, 24 September 2018: In light of the recent shocking Australian strawberry tampering event, the New Zealand produce industry is taking every action possible to reassure customers their safety systems are robust.
United Fresh is currently leading a major New Zealand-led project reviewing traceability systems in our produce sector.
United Fresh president Jerry Prendergast says the New Zealand fresh produce industry has systems in place to assess risks to the food supply and to ensure it is managed. This includes secure packing and distribution facilities as well as regular assessment of the supply chain processes.
“These risk mitigation strategies need to be reviewed regularly and cover all steps in the supply chain,” he says.
The project started this year and will continue for three years. It is co-funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Farming Fund and involves working with the fresh produce industry to ensure effective traceability from paddock to plate.
Prendergast says the United Fresh project reinforces the need to work continuously on defending the integrity of our food supply systems. Fresh produce is being traced from harvest through to retail store with a view to strengthening our industry wide traceability systems.
“The current tampering in Australia, whether copycat or worse, is a major concern and we support the efforts of all of the industry and authorities both here and in Australia in dealing with these issues.
“We want to re-iterate this is an Australian strawberry issue, there is no connection to New Zealand-grown strawberries,” says Prendergast.
The good news is that New Zealand product is ripening nicely with the approach of warmer spring weather and some has already made it's way into stores this week.
As an extra precaution and following advice from public health authorities in Australia, customers should cut up any existing Australian strawberries they may have at home, before eating them.
Information about this project is available on our website https://www.unitedfresh.co.nz/technical-advisory-group/sff
For more information contact:
Food Safety Representative
United Fresh Technical Advisory Group
Mobile: 027 279 5550