Technical Advisory Group - Update June 2017

20 June 2017

Technical Advisory Group - Update June 2017

Technical Advisory Group

As you can see from the banner, our name has changed. We are no longer the Food Safety and Traceability Committee, but the Technical Advisory Group (TAG). This name change has come about because over the last 12 months, our scope has widened from just food safety to include biosecurity, as well as weights and measures, and if the last Executive meeting is anything to go by, TAG may well be looking at gases. It is therefore time for an update.

Sustainable Farming Fund Project

We intend to resubmit an amended Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) traceability project in the next funding round. 


The need to prepare for DataBar is becoming more pressing, with both major Australian supermarkets now piloting DataBar for introduction. Those exporting to Australia may wish to take note, as this may affect you soon. DataBar may be an initial hassle to implement, but the simplicity of a single barcode and number following the product from field to fork is attracting a lot of attention as supply chain participants are looking for greater efficiencies, improved margins and reduced risks.


A technology development that is increasingly receiving more attention related to Food Safety advances is the Blockchain concept. Fonterra is trialling Blockchain technology, in its export supply chain.  Walmart is trialling the use of Blockchain in its US spinach supply chain and the Dutch produce industry is testing this in partnership with a couple of their universities – so watch that space. For those who might not have heard of Blockchain before, the idea is simple. A tracking system which can only be updated if there is consensus amongst all parties that an action, such as shipping of goods, has occurred. This can occur at a level as low as an individual punnet, all the way up to entire harvests. The key question is – can this technology work in practice in our fast moving industry? And there is only one way to find out.

Weights & Measures

In response to member requests, United Fresh has begun consultation with Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to clarify the requirements and responsibilities of different business types through the produce supply chain, particularly as it relates to prefaced produce. An initial meeting was held with MBIE, attended by United Fresh representatives Jerry Prendergast and Anne-Marie Arts and representatives from Foodstuffs, T&G Global and MG Marketing. 

United Fresh committed to taking industry ownership of weights & measures issues and to developing a guidance document.  MBIE will support the process with technical assistance.


This an ongoing issues for industry at all levels– with different priorities needing to managed at the various point in the supply chain.  MPI does take a very strategic view of Biosecurity and we would recommend members to become familiar with MPI’s Biosecurity 2025 Direction Statement document which is available at .

Refrigeration Gases

Mathew Darby, Chair of the Climate Control Companies Association New Zealand (CCCANZ) attended the most recent Executive Committee meeting to update members on impending changes in this area.  The matter is complex and United Fresh members who use industrial gases on their properties are well advised to ensure they are up to date with developments.  Please check out the Association website at


For more information, please contact Anne-Marie Arts: