The positive impact fresh fruit and vegetables have on the health and well-being of consumers needs to be underpinned through a proactive best practice approach to all Food Safety related matters. Food Safety is a concern for all links in the fresh produce value chain. United Fresh, as the only pan industry body in the New Zealand horticulture and produce sectors, is in a pivotal position in terms of engaging nationally and globally with government, regulating authorities and knowledge providers to ensure members interests are taken into account.
Food Safety issues typically arise in relation to production, post-harvest management and handling of fruit and vegetables. These processes are very much influenced by geographic, climatic environmental and regulatory factors which advocates an ongoing need for a New Zealand focused approach to finding sustainable food safety solutions for our industry.
As these are highly technical areas, United Fresh partners with its member, The AgriChain Centre to manage our Food Safety activities. Anne-Marie Arts heads The AgriChain Centre’s Food Safety team and is the United Fresh Food Safety spokesperson. Dr Hans Maurer serves as the New Zealand Director of the International Federation for Produce Standards (IFPS). IFPS engages on a global basis with organisations such as the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), Global Gap, the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), all of which influence how United Fresh members go about their Food Safety related business.
Our involvement with the IFPS allows access to international resources and relevant information to ensure members are kept abreast of developments in this very important field.
The Food Safety & Traceability Position Paper
At its meeting on 17th February, the United Fresh New Zealand Executive Board has established a Food Safety & Traceability Committee and appointed Executive Member Dr Hans Maurer to be its chairman.
Below you will find the first addition of our FS&T newsletter and a list of our Committee representatives.
Dr Hans Maurer, Chairperson, United Fresh Food Safety & Tracebility Committee
United Fresh Executive and Director Strategy & Marketing, The AgriChain Centre
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.
FOOD SAFETY & RESIDUES
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.
CRATES & PALLETS
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.
WEIGHTS & MEASURES
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.
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION FOR PRODUCE STANDARDS (IFPS)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Please check out each heading under the Technical tab for more detailed information on the work of the Technical Advisory Group.
Dr Hans Maurer, United Fresh Technical Advisory Group
United Fresh Executive and Director Strategy & Marketing, The AgriChain Centre
Presentation from the United Fresh AGM - June 2018
TAG Newsletter - July 2018
TAG Newsletter - April 2018
TAG Update: DataBar’s move into the Produce Industry - January 2018
TAG Newsletter - August 2017
TAG Newsletter - June 2017
FS&T Newsletter - Jul 2016
FS&T Newsletter - Nov 2015
FS&T Newsletter - Sept 2015
FS&T Newsletter - May 2015
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
07 May 2018
Professional Development - Fresh Produce Recall Workshop - Friday 1st June - Waipuna Hotel & Conference Centre Auckland
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.
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.
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.
10 Aug 2017
Technical Advisory Group Update - August 2017
United Fresh Technical Advisory Group members have attended several conferences as reported in this update.
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).
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.
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.
22 Sep 2016
United Fresh Food Safety & Traceability Update - September 2016
Food Safety Law Reform Bill - what it means for your fresh produce business
19 Aug 2016
A Note from Hastings District Council for Local Businesses
CHLORINATION OF HASTINGS WATER SUPPLY
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.
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”
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
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.
03 Feb 2016
New Food Act Takes Effect Next Month – Are you ready?
New Food Act and Guidelines for Fresh Produce Food Safety
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.
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.
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.
25 Nov 2015
United Fresh Food Safety & Traceability Update
October and November have been busy for the United Fresh Food Safety & Traceability Committee.
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
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.
06 Oct 2015
Biosecurity, Food Safety & Traceability Workshop
SAVE THE DATE - TUESDAY 17th NOVEMBER 2015.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.