The following is from the Fishfiles website, which is an an initiative of the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) to provide accurate and informative information on Australia’s sustainable seafood.
Every few years the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) produces Status of Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) reports and publishes these at fish.gov.au. The reports are based on a consistent national reporting framework developed by fisheries scientists across Australia. These reports bring together all the available information on Australia’s key wild catch fish stocks and give a rating (and colour) to each species.
|Status of Australian Fish Stock (SAFS) classification framework|
|Color||Stock Status||Simplified Definition|
|Fish stock size (biomass) is above a minimum level (limit reference point) for the stock, and fishing pressure is adequately controlled (there is no overfishing)|
|DEPLETING||Fish stock size is above a minimum level (limit reference point) for the stock, but fishing pressure is too high|
|RECOVERING||Fish stock size is too low but fishing pressure is adequately controlled and stock is recovering|
|DEPLETED||Fish stock size is too low and fishing pressure too high, or fishing pressure has been reduced but recovery not yet detected|
|UNDEFINED||Not enough information available to make a reliable assessment|
|NEGLIGIBLE||Catches are so low as to be considered negligible|
For a full description of the SAFS classification system see How are the Status of Australian Fish Stock Reports done on the SAFS website.
For the 2018 SAFS (Status of Australian Fish Stocks) Reports almost 80% of the 406 stocks (120 species) were able to be assessed. Of the stocks assessed around 80% were rated sustainable (green).
The SAFS website provides access to not only the top line results, but also all the information that supports the rating. You can also download the SAFS app, just search SAFS Sustainable Fish Stocks in the Google Play Store or the App Store.
Very important to note that the sustainability status of a species can vary from stock to stock and state by state. Therefore, if you are concerned ask where the fish was caught, then check the status on the App or website.
For more information go to https://www.fishfiles.com.au/Experts/HealthProfessionals/Seafood-sustainability
The following is from a media release from Food Standards Australia New Zealand and is included here with permission.
Australian Total Diet Study demonstrates safety of the food supply
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Chief Executive Officer Mark Booth says the results of the 25th Australian Total Diet Study (ATDS), released today, again demonstrate the safety of the Australian food supply.
Mr Booth said 88 foods were tested for 226 agricultural and veterinary chemicals and four metals: arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury.
“The levels of agricultural and veterinary chemicals were generally very low, with a majority of samples having no detectable residues,” Mr Booth said.
“Estimated dietary exposures for all but one chemical were below the relevant acceptable daily intakes (ADIs), indicating no public health and safety concerns,” Mr Booth said.
“Estimated dietary exposure to the insecticide prothiofos exceeded the ADI for some population age groups. FSANZ informed the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) which subsequently worked with industry who voluntarily changed the way prothiofos is used to ensure that risks for Australian consumers are acceptably low.
“For metal contaminants, all detections were below the maximum levels set in the Food Standards Code and consistent with international levels.
“Estimated dietary exposure to methylmercury (through the consumption of fish) exceeded the provisional tolerable weekly intake (PTWI) for children aged 2 to 5 years. The risks in this case are balanced by the known benefits of fish consumption. FSANZ has published consumer advice to manage dietary exposure to mercury while highlighting the health benefits.”
Media contact: 0401 714 265 (Australia) or +61 401 714 265 (New Zealand)
Food security is fundamentally about the right food being in the right place at the right time and for the right people.
It is an essential function, and usually not public, of all governments to ensure food security for their people and strong food safety regulations and culture is essential to making sure this can be met consistently.
The following is from a brochure, “The Future of Food Safety”, from the Food and Agicultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and is included here with permission. The full brochure can be found at http://www.fao.org/3/ca4289en/CA4289EN.pdf
Ready access to safe and nutritious food is a basic human right. Yet every year around the world, over 420 000 people die and some 600 million people – almost one in ten – fall ill after eating contaminated food. In fact, foodborne hazards are known to cause over 200 acute and chronic diseases from digestive tract infections to cancer. The ramifications of the cost of unsafe food, however, go far beyond human suffering. Contaminated food hampers socioeconomic development, overloads healthcare systems and compromises economic growth and trade. Opportunities of an increasingly-globalized food market are lost to countries unable to meet international food safety standards. Food safety threats cause an enormous burden on economies from disruptions or restrictions in global and regional agri-food trade, loss of food and associated income and wasted natural resources.
If it is not safe, it is not food. Food security is achieved when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to food that meets their dietary needs for an active and healthy life. Food safety plays a critical role across the four pillars of food security – availability, access, utilization and stability.
Availability – the amount of food of all types available within an area or country – including imports, production, aid and stocks.
Access – the physical, economic and social access people have to food
Utilisation – the available and accessible food must be both safe and nutritious
Stability – the food must be present at all times to ensure that it can be effective
A food recall is when product is retrieved from customers if there is a possible food safety problem with a food.
There are three type of food recalls; Consumer, Trade and Mock.
A Consumer Recall occurs when the affected food has reached the shelves and is accessible to consumers, for example ; from supermarkets or manufacturers.
It is the most expensive type of recall in terms of the costs of retrieving the product and also on it’s potential impact on the company’s brand and future sales.
A Trade Recall occurs when the food has only made it as far as the warehouse in the suppy chain and there is no need to inform consumers that it is happening.
Mock Recalls are required for all businesses that must have a recall program. It is a trial of the business’s recall program and must be done at regular scheduled intervals to test that the program is effective and to give practice if ever a Consumer or Trade Recall is required.
All businesses which manufacture, import, distribute or wholesale food must have a food recall program.
All recalls must be run according to the Food Industry Recall Protocol;
There are specific documents which must be completed or used for recalls, and templates for these can be found at
The following is from the Botulism Fact Sheet on the NSW Health website – https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/botulism.aspx
What is botulism?
Botulism is a rare but serious illness that causes paralysis. Botulism is caused by nerve toxins made by Clostridium botulinum bacteria. Botulism can result from eating food that has been contaminated with the toxin (foodborne botulism) or ingesting food, dust or soil that contains the bacteria that produce the toxin (intestinal botulism) or contaminating a wound with the bacteria (wound botulism). Intestinal botulism affecting children under 12 months of age is known as infant botulism. This is the most common form of botulism.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of infant botulism include constipation, loss of appetite, weak suck, weak cry and muscle weakness including poor head control.
Early symptoms of foodborne botulism include weakness, marked fatigue and vertigo usually followed by blurred vision, dry mouth and difficulty swallowing. Nausea and vomiting may also occur. These symptoms may progress to paralysis of the arm muscles and continue down the body to the trunk and legs. Paralysis of breathing muscles can be fatal. Most cases recover if diagnosed and treated early. In foodborne botulism, symptoms may begin from a few hours to several days after eating the contaminated food.
Wound botulism causes similar symptoms to foodborne botulism but may take up to two weeks to occur.
How is it spread?
Infant botulism occurs when infants ingest the spores of the botulinum bacteria that grow in the intestine and produce the toxin. The spores can be found in dust and soil. Raw honey has been shown to cause infant botulism.
Foodborne botulism occurs when the bacteria Clostridium botulinum grow and produce toxin in food which is then eaten without sufficient heating to destroy the toxin. This is more likely to occur with fermented, salted or smoked fish or meat products and home canned or bottled vegetables and fruits.
Wound botulism occurs when spores get into an open wound and produce the toxin. It has been associated with black tar heroin in injecting drug users in parts of Europe and North America.
Botulism is not known to spread from person to person.
Who is at risk?
Children under twelve months of age are most at risk of intestinal botulism. Older children and adults are not usually affected because they have natural defences in the gut to prevent production of the toxin. Intestinal botulism in adults is very rare are more likely in those with suppressed immune systems or bowel problems.
People who eat home canned fruit, vegetables or meats are at risk of acquiring foodborne botulism.
Those with open wounds that are not properly cleaned and injecting drug users are at risk of wound botulism.
How is it prevented?
People who preserve their own fruit, vegetables or meats should take special care with cooking temperatures, container sterilisation and salt and acidity levels to make sure the process does not encourage bacteria to grow. Discard all canned foods that show any signs of being spoiled or are out of date.
Avoid giving honey to babies less than 12 months of age and take care when preparing, handling and storing solid foods for babies.
Wash any wounds thoroughly with soap (or detergent) and running water.
How is it diagnosed?
A doctor can diagnose botulism based on the symptoms and identification of the toxin in the blood or faeces.
How is it treated?
Botulism can be treated with an antitoxin. Hospitalisation is usually required. Intensive care with mechanical ventilation may be needed if the breathing muscles have been affected. Infants may require immunoglobulin (a blood product).
What is the public health response?
Laboratories and hospitals are required to notify cases of botulism to the local Public Health Unit. Public Health Units investigate possible cases to identify the source and prevent further cases
The general idea of high risk foods are those foods which when handled poorly will allow bacterial growth and therefore have a much higher risk of being a source of food poisoning (also called food borne illness).
The High Risk Foods in Australia are generally considered to be ; meats, (including poultry and seafood), dairy, eggs, cut fruit and vegetables, cooked rice and pasta. And any foods containing any of them.
These foods are considered as high risk based on scientific evidence over time, including the characteristics of pathogens and their preference for certain foods due to conditions or processing and the history of food poisoning incidents.
Risk in HACCP and other risk assessment processes is a combination of both how often the hazard happens (the frequency or likelihood) and how bad it is when it does happen (the severity).
Another way of determing high risk foods is those foods that are most commonly recalled or are produced in a way that makes them more likely to harbor harmful bacteria.
However, there is a lot of discussion going on around the food industry both in Australia and internationally about what risk actually means in terms of food and food poisoning.
Another question being asked in relation to risk in food and food poisoning is whether there really is any food which does not have some degree of risk and how can we as a food industry be expected to ensure that every food has no risk to consumers.
In the USA, it is the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), section 204(d)(2)(A), which is to be used to set the definition for high risk foods in that country and is based on the following factors
- the known safety risks of a particular food, including the history and severity of foodborne illness outbreaks attributed to such food, taking into consideration foodborne illness data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);
- the likelihood that a particular food has a high potential risk for microbiological or chemical contamination or would support the growth of pathogenic microorganisms due to the nature of the food or the processes used to produce such food;
iii. the point in the manufacturing process of the food where contamination is most likely to occur;
- the likelihood of contamination and steps taken during the manufacturing process to reduce the possibility of contamination;
- the likelihood that consuming a particular food will result in a foodborne illness due to contamination of the food; and
- the likely or known severity, including health and economic impacts, of a foodborne illness attributed to a particular food.
The FDA has, to date, considered “high risk” foods to be soft cheeses, seafood, custard-filled bakery products, some fruits and vegetables, and baby formula.
As can be seen, it is not easy to uniformly define and agree to what are the high risk foods and how they are to be determined.
Bill Marler’s (the author of Food Safety News www.foodsafetynews.com and a leading lawyer for food poisoning cases in the USA) suggest the following foods for the high-risk list:
Raw milk and products made from it, Raw juice, Raw sprouts, Pre-cut fruit and vegetables (including leafy greens), Raw shellfish and Uncooked flour
Do you agree?
The following are recall notices from the New South Wales Food Authority and are included here with permission.
The NSW Food Authority advises:
The Egg Basket is conducting a recall of Country Fresh Eggs, Just Eggs, Chefs Choice Free Range and Chefs Choice Cage Free eggs due to potential microbial (Salmonella Enteritidis) contamination.
The products have been available for sale at The Egg Basket and Flemington Markets in NSW.
- Country Fresh Eggs
- Just Eggs
- Chefs Choice Free Range
- Chefs Choice Cage Free
- Use By 14th June 2019, 20th June 2019, 24th June 2019, 29th June 2019, 5th July 2019, 9th July 2019
Eggs stamped with code: eb24449
Problem: The recall is due to potential microbial (Salmonella Enteritidis) contamination.
Food safety hazard: Food products contaminated with Salmonella may cause illness if consumed.
Country of origin: Australia
What to do: Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice and should return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund.
For further information please contact:
The Egg Basket
02 9826 1847
The NSW Food Authority advises:
Lactalis Australia Pty Ltd is conducting a recall of various milk products listed below due to the presence of an amount of food grade dairy cleaning solution.
The recalled products have been available for sale in Coles, Woolworths, IGA and other retailers across Victoria, as well as three Coles stores in Southern New South Wales (Deniliquin, Lavington and Albury), and a small number of petrol and convenience stores in the Murray, Riverina and Western districts of NSW.
Product details & date markings:
- Pauls Smarter White Milk, 1 litre bottle, 25-JUN, 26-JUN, 27-JUN
- Pauls Full Fat Cream Milk, 1 litre bottle, 26-JUN, 27-JUN
- Pauls PhysiCAL Skim, 1 litre bottle, 27-JUN
- Pauls PhysiCAL Low Fat, 1 litre bottle, 26-JUN
- Pauls Rev Low Fat, 1 litre bottle, 28-JUN
- Coles Lite Milk, 1 litre bottle, 25-JUN, 26-JUN
- Coles Skim Milk, 1 litre bottle, 25-JUN
- Coles Full Cream Milk, 1 litre bottle, 25-JUN, 26-JUN.
Problem: The recall is due to chemical/contaminant (food grade dairy cleaning solution) contamination. The milk products may have a yellowish colouring and/or metallic chemical taste.
Food safety hazard: This is a food safety issue and anyone concerned about their health should seek medical advice.
Country of origin: Australia
What to do: Consumers with the affected products should return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.
For further information please contact:
Lactalis Australia consumer service team
Ph: 1800 676 961.
The following is from the NSW Food Authority and is included here with permission.
The NSW Food Authority advises:
K S NSW Pty Ltd (a.k.a K S Imp. & Exp. Pty Ltd) is conducting a recall of Chung Jung One Stir Fried Rice Mate and Rice Seasoning. The products have been available for sale at Asian grocery stores in NSW, VIC, ACT, and SA.
- Chung Jung One Stir Fried Rice Mate, Vegetable Flavour, 24g.
- Chung Jung One Rice Seasoning, Vegetable Flavour , 24g.
- Chung Jung One Stir Fried Rice Mate, Shrimp Flavour, 24g.
- Chung Jung One Rice Seasoning, Seafood Flavour, 24g
- All dates
Problem: The recall is due to the presence of undeclared allergens (egg and milk).
Food safety hazard: Any consumers who have an egg and/or milk allergy or intolerance may have a reaction if the product is consumed.
Country of origin: South Korea
What to do: Consumers who have an egg and/or milk allergy or intolerance should not consume this product and should return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund.
For further information please contact:
02 9648 4567
The following is a media release from the Food Safety Information Council Ltd to recognise the first World Food Safety Day. It is included here with permission.
The Food Safety Information Council has released a report card on Australia’s food safety record in recognition of the inaugural UN World Food Safety Day 7 June 2019.
Council Chair, Cathy Moir, said that there are an estimated 4.1 million cases of food poisoning in Australia each year that result in 31,920 hospitalisations, 86 deaths and 1 million visits to doctors on average each year.
‘The theme of the 2019 World Food Safety Day is ‘Food Safety: Everyone’s Business’. The Food Safety Information Council’s role is to educate consumers and the broader community in safe food handling to reduce the number of cases of foodborne illness in Australia. Our consumer research has shown some major food safety concerns:
- A third of all Australian households have at least one vulnerable person at risk of severe illness if they get food poisoning, for example pregnant women, the elderly and people with reduced immunity.
- 70% of Australians don’t know the safe cooking temperature for foods that may be contaminated with Salmonellaand Campylobacter, such as poultry and egg dishes.
- 36% of Australians are taking a risk by eating raw egg dishes, with 10% eating raw egg dishes at least once a month.
‘Everyone has a role to play in reducing the number of cases of foodborne illness. You can greatly reduce the risk of food poisoning for you and your family by following our 6 simple tips:
- Always wash your hands with soap and running water and dry thoroughly before handling food and after handling raw meat or poultry, going to the toilet, touching your face or hair, or blowing your nose.
- Never handle food for others if you are feeling unwell.
- Use a fridge thermometer to make sure your fridge is running at or below 5°C.
- Use a meat thermometer to check that high risk foods such as sausages, rolled roasts, hamburger patties and poultry are cooked to at least 75°C in the thickest part of the meat. Egg dishes, such a quiche, should be cooked to 72°C .
- Don’t put cooked meat or poultry back on the same surface that raw meat or poultry has been on and use separate utensils, such as tongs, for raw and cooked foods.
- Wash any equipment such as chopping boards and knives in hot soapy water and dry thoroughly between using them for raw meat or poultry and food like salads that won’t be further cooked.
‘The Food Safety Information Council is working with our members to build a food safety culture in Australia including running Australian Food Safety Week 10 to 17 November 2019. The 2018 Australian Food Safety Week and summer education campaign included radio and TV community service announcements run nationally, our Youtube video was shown in over 5,000 GP surgeries reaching an audience of 15 million and our media interviews and article reached an audience of approximately 2 million.
‘We are currently planning the 2019 Australian Food Safety Week and are inviting organisations who may wish to become involved in our important work to contact us 0407 626 688 or firstname.lastname@example.org,’ Ms Moir concluded.
The Food Safety Information Council is a health promotion charity and Australia’s leading disseminator of consumer-targeted food safety information.
Lydia Buchtmann, Food Safety Information Council, 0407 626 688 or email@example.com
With a review of the Food Safety Standards under way in Australia, it seemed a good time to do a reminder about what is the international standard for food safety – HACCP.
For thos who don’t know HACCP is Hazard analysis Critical Control Points and it was originally developed for use in those companies which made the food for the astronauts of the 1960s.
It has therefore been the internationally recognised standard for food safety for more than 50 years and has had very little modification in all that time.
It is all based on the Seven HACCP Principles and, now, 12 steps. The following is a summary of those Principles and steps
THE SEVEN HACCP PRINCIPLES
Principle 1 – Conduct a Hazard Analysis
Using a flowchart of the food process, an analysis is done on each step to determine all of the potential food safety related hazards. These hazards are typically about temperature, stock rotation, contamination, cross-contamination, allergens and need to consider all of the seven ps of each step; people, product, process, premises, plant, procedures, and paperwork
A Risk Assessment Guide is then used to determine the risk of each identified hazard. Risk is a mix of how often (frequency) and how bad (severity) and is usually shown as a H (High), M (Medium) or L (Low).
Both the Hazard Analysis and the Risk Assessment are shown on the HARA (Hazard Analysis and Risk Assessment). Needs to be reviewed whenever there is a change to any of the seven ps.
Principle 2 – Identify the Critical Control Points
A critical control point (CCP) is a point, step or procedure at which control can be applied and a food safety hazard can be prevented, eliminated or reduced to acceptable levels. A Decision Tree is used to determine if each identified hazard with a medium or high risk is a CCP or simply a Control Point (CP). These are usually given numbers in the order they are determined not in priority. Shown on the HARA.
Principle 3 – Establish Critical Limits
This is shown on a document called the HACCP Table and identify the specification required for each CCP. As an example for a temperature CCP, the Critical Limit will be a specific temperature or range that must be achieved for that CCP to be in control.
Principle 4- Monitor CCP
Shown with the Critical Limit on the HACCP Table, this is what is controlled to monitor each CCP to keep it under control. Will include how it is done, the frequency, and who is responsible. It may be a summary and reference a specific written procedure.
Principle 5 – Establish Corrective Action
Corrective Actions are those taken to bring a CCP back into control if it deviates from the Critical Limits. The Preventative Actions are those taken to prevent it from falling out of the required Limits again. Both actions need to be shown on the HACCP Table for each CCP.
Principle 6 – Verification
Shown on the HACCP Table, these are the actions taken to confirm that the CCPs and the supporting system, will include a sign off on the records by a supervisor / manager, internal audits and scales up to microbiological testing of the process and product by registered labs, depending upon the actual CCP. This should be linked to the Verification Schedule.
Principle 7 – Recordkeeping
Shown on the HACCP Table, these are the proof that the CCP was under control and that the food is being made safely. Will include not only process records, but calibration, audit reports, micro reports, training records, maintenance records, meeting minutes and others.
The HACCP documents should not be developed by a single person as there is a much higher likelihood that hazards and other parts of the Principles will be missed. So a HACCP Team must be created and supported, with regular minuted meetings.
The HACCP documents form only part of the full HACCP Plan. The Plan incorporates all of the mandatory requirements in the Food Safety Standards, including; Good Manufacturing Pracices (GMP), pest control, training, cleaning, temperature control, stock rotation, and others.
THE 12 STEPS
So knowing that a HACCP Plan is required for a business, what steps need to be followed for it to be developed and then maintained;
CREATE THE FOOD SAFETY / HACCP TEAM
DESCRIBE THE FOOD IN GREAT DETAIL
DESCRIBE THE INTENDED CONSUMER AND HOW THEY ARE GOING TO CONSUME THE FOOD
DIAGRAM THE PROCESS FLOW, FROM RECEIVING TO SHIPPING
VERIFY THE PROCESS FLOW DIAGRAM
CONDUCT A HAZARD ANALYSIS
DETERMINE CRITICAL CONTROL POINTS
SET CRITICAL LIMITS
ESTABLISH MONITORING PROCEDURES
ESTABLISH CORRECTIVE ACTIONS
VERIFY, THEN VALIDATE
ESTABLISH GOOD RECORD KEEPING
For more information – go to http://www.fao.org/3/a1552e/a1552e00.htm