The biggest food poisoning event in history to date was caused by sprouts – a fresh produce. About 3000 cases of food poisoning were involved in this event and around 50 people died.
Most people, when asked about the foods most likely to cause food poisoning, will say either chicken or meats. Cut fruit and vegetables are also considered to be potentially hazardous foods, and this huge food poisoning outbreak highlights how significant fresh produce is.
To recognise this, a new centre has been set up to do research on and set up plans for how the fresh produce industry will handle food poisoning outbreaks and other food safety issues.
It will be run by the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Agriculture and Environment and PMA (Produce Marketing Association) Australia-New Zealand. The funding has been matched from the Australian Government through Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL).
It has three objectives;
One – to plan how the fresh produce industry will handle major food safety outbreaks in the region, with a focus on management and communication.
Two – to identify research needs that are specific to the industry in both Australia and New Zealand. It will work to set up collaborations with other bodies around the world to assist in developing best practice and standardisation
Three – it will take research done in other countries, and especially from the Center for Produce Safety at the University of California-Davis, and translate it to the Australian and New Zealand industry.
To find out more about the new Centre – http://freshproducesafety-anz.com/