The AgriChain Centre has had a long association with United Fresh. It goes back to 1992 when Dr Hans Maurer was a founding member of our organisation. Since 2008 Hans has been our Knowledge Representative on our organisation’s Executive Committee. Hans also chairs our United Fresh Technical Advisory Group which evolved from United Fresh’s inititial efforts in the Food Safety & Traceability area.

The AgriChain Centre resources our United Fresh Technical Advisory Group, with the group currently engaged in the following areas:

The domestic and export fresh produce industries are intrinsically linked. The emergence of any new pest threatening horticultural exports impacts on the domestic produce industries ability to effectively and efficiently distribute produce as inevitably MPI will introduce regulatory movement restrictions. An inability to control or eradicate any pest creates further strategic implications.

Consumers want safe food. Regulators and retailers hold producers and distributors accountable for providing safe food, and all parties involved understand the need for this. United Fresh members’ interest lies in maintaining and increasing consumption of fresh produce. This interest is compromised every time a fruit or vegetable product is pointed at, or identified, in a food safety incident. Food safety and traceability therefore go hand in hand. We have separated these for the purposes of our reporting, as food safety is paramount on any day, regardless of what traceability methodologies are being used. Yet whilst this operational separation is in place, new technologies related to traceability are challenging how food safety requirements will in future be managed.

Produce supply chains are becoming more complex, as well as diverse, and new channels continue to emerge. Regulatory and retailer driven residue hurdles continue to be raised, and the consumer is increasingly requesting more accurate and timely information about product origin and the treatments it has been exposed to. All this makes traceability an essential component of good business practice for the produce industry, rather than an optional extra.

Produce is moved from grower to retail in crates and on pallets. Any change in the configuration, through either legislation or distributor requirements, has substantial applications for all other elements of the supply chain. Collectively working on achieving effective and efficient movement of produce aids the state the produce is in when consumers are exposed to it, and hopefully increases consumption.

Like other consumer goods, fresh produce is subject to government regulations in this area. Some exemptions exist for prepacked fresh produce that differ from the rules for shelf stable FMCG items. Our industry has increased the amount of produce that is being sold in prepacked format, which means different (and tighter) rules apply. Some of the produce, such as RTE salads, differ in packaging technology very little from frozen peas. At the same time, the traditional practice of offering pre-packaged produce in tray/overwrap format has in many cases been shifted out of the retail rear-store into an off-location central facility.

Produce is perishable, and perishability can be slowed down through refrigeration. Effective refrigeration involves the use of coolant gases. The use of refrigeration is widespread in the fresh produce and wider food industries, at all levels of the supply chain. Global environmental agreements to which New Zealand is a signatory require New Zealand, and New Zealand industries, to change the ways refrigeration is applied and managed.

The International Federation for Produce Standards (IFPS) emerged in the 1990s, when national produce associations in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand realised that there was an urgent need to standardise the use of PLU numbers on a global basis. Today, membership is more extensive, and includes countries as diverse as Chile, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Norway. The scope of IFPS engagement has also broadened, and now includes the portfolios of Chain Information Management, Product Identification, and Food Safety. New Zealand is a IFPS founding member and continues to contribute at the organisations executive level, with Hans Maurer currently serving as the chair of the Chain Information Management committee.

Applications for PLU Codes are now managed by United Fresh here in New Zealand, if you require a PLU Code please make contact with TAG Chair, Dr Hans Maurer

Please check out each heading under the Technical tab for more detailed information on the work of the Technical Advisory Group.


TAG Committee 2018


Dr Hans Maurer, United Fresh Technical Advisory Group
United Fresh Executive and Director Strategy & Marketing, The AgriChain Centre
Contact email

Committee Members

  • Anne-Marie Arts, Technical Director Food Safety & Survey, The AgriChain Centre, Contact Email
  • Owen Dance, Manager Quality Services, GS1 New Zealand
  • Michael Breitmeyer, Product Development Manager, MG Marketing
  • Brent Stewart, Produce Business Manager, Foodstuffs North Island Ltd
  • Doug Wharehinga, Operations Quality & Food Safety Co-ordinator, T&G Global Ltd


Presentation from the United Fresh AGM - June 2018

Download PDF



TAG Newsletter - July 2018

Link to article

TAG Newsletter - April 2018

Download PDF

TAG Update: DataBar’s move into the Produce Industry - January 2018

Download PDF

TAG Newsletter - August 2017

Download PDF

TAG Newsletter - June 2017

Download PDF

FS&T Newsletter - Jul 2016

Download PDF

FS&T Newsletter - Nov 2015

Download PDF

FS&T Newsletter - Sept 2015

Download PDF

FS&T Newsletter - May 2015

Download PDF

  • 13 Dec 2019

    Food Safety Update December 2019 - Emerging Food Risks due to Climate Change

    Climate Change increasingly affects food production. The changes to temperatures and rainfall patterns from climate change are being predicted to lead to a 2-6% decline crop yields every decade, as droughts, fires, floods, shifting seasons, and increased insect populations impact on our ability to grow crops.

    View Story
  • 24 Oct 2019

    United Fresh Food Safety Newsletter - October 2019

    In this issue we are looking at three articles on climate change and its potential impact on foodborne illness, production and business management.

    View Story
  • 19 Sep 2019

    Fresh Produce Safety Centre Seeking Director Nominations

    FPSC Ltd is seeking nominations to fill two Board vacancies, one from New Zealand (effective from 27 November 2019).

    View Story
  • 09 Sep 2019

    United Fresh Food Safety Update, September 2019

    Welcome to the first edition of our Technical Advisory Group's Food Safety Updates. This update covers the release of MPI's Draft Food Safety Strategy.

    View Story
  • 30 Jul 2019

    Update from MPI on Import Health Standards for fresh fruit and vegetables

    The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has completed an administrative review of Import Health Standards (IHSs) for fresh fruit and vegetables for human consumption.

    View Story
  • 24 Jun 2019

    FPSC A-NZ 2019 Conference

    United Fresh Technical Advisory Group Representative Anne-Marie Arts will be presenting an update on the Sustainable Farming Fund Traceability Project.

    View Story
  • 04 Dec 2018

    Listeria Information Update - November 2018

    Following our attendance at the PMA-ANZ Fresh Produce Safety Conference we have produced a document to share the new findings on Listeria. 

    View Story
  • 04 Dec 2018

    Sustainable Farming Fund - Literature Review - PowerPoint

    We have created a PowerPoint presentation to simplify the findings of the Literature Review and to enable organisations to share this with their team.

    View Story
  • 29 Oct 2018

    United Fresh seeks Growers’ help for Traceability Survey

    As you are aware, United Fresh was awarded a Sustainable Farming Fund project in June 2018, which is entitled “Effective Fresh Produce Traceability Systems” (Project 405482).

    View Story
  • 24 Sep 2018

    Major Fresh Produce Traceability Project Underway in New Zealand

    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.

    View Story
  • 07 May 2018

    Professional Development - Fresh Produce Recall Workshop - Friday 1st June - Waipuna Hotel & Conference Centre Auckland


    View Story
  • 19 Apr 2018

    Applying for PLU Codes - TAG Update April 2018

    Applications for PLU Codes are now managed by United Fresh here in New Zealand, if you require a PLU Code please make contact with TAG Chair, Dr Hans Maurer

    View Story
  • 28 Feb 2018

    NSW Food Authority: Listeriosis outbreak linked to rockmelon

    The NSW Food Authority is advising consumers who are most vulnerable to Listeria infection such as older persons, and people who have weakened immune systems due to illness or pregnancy, to avoid eating rockmelon after a recent spike in listeriosis cases in elderly people has been linked to the fruit.

    View Story
  • 27 Feb 2018

    NSW, Australia Listeria Outbreak Update

    An outbreak of listeriosis has taken place in New South Wales with an unexpected increase in cases in January and February.

    View Story
  • 25 Jan 2018

    DataBar's move into the Produce Industry

    Consumers, retailers, wholesalers, packhouses and growers alike are all familiar with fruit label- the tiny stickers commonly found on oranges, apples, kiwifruit, avocadoes and a myriad of other produce.

    View Story
  • 10 Aug 2017

    Technical Advisory Group Update - August 2017

    United Fresh Technical Advisory Group members have attended several conferences as reported in this update.

    View Story
  • 20 Jun 2017

    Technical Advisory Group - Update June 2017

    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).

    View Story
  • 10 Mar 2017

    URGENT LeaderBrand salad product recall announcement

    On Thursday the 9th of March at 11am, LeaderBrand Produce Ltd. was advised that one of its salad product lines tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes bacteria or ‘Listeria’ as it is more commonly known.

    View Story
  • 10 Mar 2017

    Reminder: New Food Safety Law and Templates for Businesses to Manage Food Safety

    The Food Act is a new law for Food Safety, which came into effect on 1st March 2016.

    View Story
  • 22 Sep 2016

    United Fresh Food Safety & Traceability Update - September 2016

    Food Safety Law Reform Bill - what it means for your fresh produce business

    View Story
  • 19 Aug 2016

    A Note from Hastings District Council for Local Businesses


    View Story
  • 16 Aug 2016

    Important Notice for Horticulture businesses (growers, packhouses, distributors) from the Ministry for Primary Industries

    Health officials in Havelock North have issued a boil water notice for Council water supply.

    View Story
  • 28 Jul 2016

    United Fresh Food Safety & Traceability Update - July 2016

    In May 2016 the United Fresh Food Safety & Traceability Committee submitted a “Strategic Assessment in the New Zealand Domestic Fresh Produce Industry”

    View Story
  • 13 May 2016

    United Fresh AGM & Members Meeting 2016

    Our United Fresh AGM & Members meeting held in Auckland on Thursday 12th May 2016 was well received by around 80 of our members

    View Story
  • 17 Mar 2016

    United Fresh Members Meeting and AGM - Diary Note - Thursday 12th May at 3:30pm

    Please join us for our United Fresh Members Meeting and AGM.

    View Story
  • 03 Feb 2016

    New Food Act Takes Effect Next Month – Are you ready?

    New Food Act and Guidelines for Fresh Produce Food Safety

    View Story
  • 14 Dec 2015

    MPI Update - Strain in fifth Hepatitis A case confirmed - 14 December 2015

    Results from testing have now confirmed that the fifth person, who recently contracted Hepatitis A, as reported last week, has the same strain of the virus as the other four people who fell sick with Hepatitis in late October and early November this year.

    View Story
  • 09 Dec 2015

    New development in MPI’s berry investigation - 9 December 2015

    A newly notified case of Hepatitis A is likely to be linked to the consumption of the Fruzio Mixed Berries product, which is currently the subject of an MPI-directed product recall.

    View Story
  • 30 Nov 2015

    Ministry for Primary Industries Increase Surveillance of Imported Frozen Berry Products

    The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has released a media statement today regarding imported frozen berries and four reported cases of Hepatitis A.

    View Story
  • 25 Nov 2015

    United Fresh Food Safety & Traceability Update

    October and November have been busy for the United Fresh Food Safety & Traceability Committee.

    View Story
  • 13 Nov 2015

    Last chance to register Biosecurity, Food Safety & Traceability Workshop – Tues 17th November

    If you haven’t already registered for next Tuesday members’ workshop (being held in partnership with MPI) you will need to do so today

    View Story
  • 30 Oct 2015

    Register for our United Fresh Biosecurity, Food Safety & Traceability Workshop – 17/11/2015

    We are pleased to present our Biosecurity, Food Safety & Traceability and Food Law Workshop in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries.

    View Story
  • 06 Oct 2015

    Biosecurity, Food Safety & Traceability Workshop

    United Fresh New Zealand Incorporated in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries invite members to attend a workshop on Biosecurity, Food Safety & Traceability and Food Law.

    View Story
  • 06 Oct 2015

    Yersinia Pseudotuberculosis - Reviewing the Impact

    The United Fresh Food Safety Committee is undertaking a review of the issues surrounding the Yersenia Pseudotuberculosis Outbreak last year. The objective is to understand, from a domestic fresh produce industry perspective, the areas where we need to undertake planning in order to be better prepared for any future outbreaks.

    View Story
  • 04 Sep 2015

    Strawberry Traceability Pilot 2016

    This project focuses on the external traceability challenges arising in the domestic fresh market strawberry supply chain, as the fruit passes from grower to retailer. United Fresh is working with GS1 New Zealand in this pilot project.

    View Story
  • 01 Sep 2015

    Food Law Update

    MPI will be launching an online tool to help people understand the Food Act 2014, which comes into affect on 1st March 2016.

    View Story
  • 01 Sep 2015

    Food Safety, Food Security & Your Business Planning

    United Fresh partnered with Horticulture New Zealand to present a 90 minute breakout session on Food Safety, Food Security and Your Business Planning at the HortNZ 2015 Conference this year.

    View Story
  • 28 Aug 2015

    Fresh Produce Safety Conference, Sydney August 2015

    United Fresh attended this conference run by PMA Australia & New Zealand’s Fresh Produce Safety Centre, hosted at the University of Sydney.

    View Story
  • 18 Feb 2015

    United Fresh Takes the Lead in Food Safety and Traceability

    For over two decades United Fresh has worked on behalf of the New Zealand produce industry on Food Safety, Traceability and Industry Standards. To further strengthen this framework and safeguard food safety, we recently established the Food Safety and Traceability Committee.

    View Story