In recent years the safety of fresh produce has come under increased scrutiny from regulators, retailers, and the public because of a series of high-profile incidents which have impacted the health of consumers. These incidents have included Salmonella in salad products and sprouts, Hepatitis A virus in pomegranate arils and raspberries, and Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella in rockmelons.
While the majority of fruit and vegetable products pose a low risk to public health, there are selected products and specific handling practices which may present a higher risk to consumers.
The seminar will address food safety across the fresh produce sector, providing information on the types of hazards that may be encountered and provide guidance on how to reduce the risks.
Speakers will outline research developments, regulatory requirements, and describe control and management strategies which will reduce the risk for consumers. The target audience includes business owners and quality assurance and food safety managers covering the supply chain from growers to pack houses to retailers.
Key areas to be covered in the seminar:
- Food safety hazards and current research activities in the fresh produce sector
- Best practice for preventing and managing hazards
- Regulatory requirements and developments
- Measuring and controlling pathogens in fresh produce
9.45am Arrival and Registration
10.00am PMA A-NZ Welcome and Introduction
Deon Mahoney - Head of Food Safety, PMA A-NZ
10.20am Why has fresh produce become riskier?
Professor Tom Ross - Food Safety Microbiologist at the University of Tasmania's Centre for Food Safety and Innovation
10.50am Understanding the Gaps in Fresh Produce Safety: Current Research
Professor Robyn McConchie - Director ARC Centre for Food Safety in Fresh Produce at the University of Sydney
11.20am Fresh Produce and the Food Standards Code
Deon Mahoney - Head of Food Safety, PMA A-NZ
11.50am The Retail Dimension - Ensuring Consumer Safety
Alex Doyle - National Quality and Agronomy Manager, Woolworths
1.00pm The Role of Organisational Culture in Enhancing Food Safety
Anthony Raschke - Technical Director, EyeOnRisk: Food Safety Solutions
1.45pm Getting it right: practical approach to food safety in fresh produce ready-to-eat products
Dr Sharon Jones - General Manager Technical at OneHarvest
2.30pm Moderated round-table discussion
3.15pm Concluding comments
Food Safety Microbiologist at the University of Tasmania's Centre for Food Safety and Innovation
Tom is a food safety microbiologist and works at the University of Tasmania’s Centre for Food Safety and Innovation. He was the Director of the recently completed ARC Training Centre for Innovative Horticultural Products and lead investigator on a Hort Innovation-funded project on sanitisation options for rockmelons.
Tom has written >150 scientific papers and book chapters on food microbiology and has served on numerous expert committees concerned with science-based food safety management for Australian government and industry organisations and international organisations including the United Nations’ FAO and WHO and the USFDA.
He serves on the editorial board of several international microbiology journals. He was appointed to the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods in 2008. In 2017 he was appointed to the International Committee for Food Microbiology and Hygiene of the IUMS.
Tom is a keen science communicator and teacher, and is energetic in translating the results of science into practical outcomes for people and society and transferring those skills to his students. In addition to internationally recognised scientific publications, Tom and his team develop mathematical models and science-based decision-support software tools, and ‘plain english’ reports that are in the public domain and are now widely used by the food industry in Australia and internationally for food safety risk management.
Director ARC Centre for Food Safety in Fresh Produce at the University of Sydney
Professor Robyn McConchie has been involved in postharvest research and education for over 35 years working on minimising pesticide use, and more recently food safety, grain storage and development of functional foods from waste. Robyn has a BSc (Plant Science) from University of London, an MA (Education and Work) from Macquarie University and PhD from Louisiana State University (USA).
In Australia, Robyn has worked closely with industry to initiate the Fresh Produce Safety Centre based at the University of Sydney. Robyn is Director of the Australian Research Council ITTC for Food Safety in the Fresh Produce Industry with 18 industry partners, three postdoctoral fellows, nine PhD students and nine Chief Investigators. The Training Centre conducts industry-focused research to develop practical solutions to prevent or minimise food safety risks in fresh produce across the value chain, and educates a new generation of research professionals, to drive future food safety research.
Robyn has also led many international research and capacity building projects across Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Africa. For the past seven years she has been working to address food security issues across 22 African countries, through improved storage and safety of grains, diversifying diet through crop interventions and increasing impact of agricultural research. Robyn has served as Past President and Secretary of Australian Society for Horticultural Science (AuSHS), and is a member of the American (ASHS) and International Societies for Horticultural Science (ISHS). She is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).
Head of Food Safety at PMA A-NZ
Deon Mahoney is a fellow of AIFST and possesses considerable experience across food science and technology. Over his career his roles have included the development of food safety policy, microbiological risk assessment, risk communication, development and enforcement of food legislation, quality assurance, and training and education.
As Head of Food Safety at PMA A-NZ, Deon provides high level technical support and guidance with the goal of ensuring the safety and suitability of fresh produce.
Deon has previously worked for the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization, as well as with Food Standards Australia New Zealand, and a State regulatory agency. In these roles he has developed and published a wide range of technical guidance material; provided forward-looking scientific advice addressing factors that impact the safety of food products; and been actively involved in Listeria incident monitoring and response.
Based in Brisbane at Woolworths Regional Distribution centre in Larapinta, Alex is currently the National Quality and Agronomy Manager - Fruit and Vegetables at Woolworths Supermarkets and leads a team of agronomists and quality specialists tasked with managing the quality, safety and legality of fresh produce being supplied into over 1000 stores at Australia's largest supermarket retailer.
Alex has a broad range of experience in the fresh produce supply chain and has spent the last 7 years at Woolworths in various quality and technical roles having previously been responsible for portfolios including Bananas, Berries, Pome Fruit, Stone Fruit, Avocados and Mangoes. Hailing from a farming family in South Western Queensland, Alex graduated from the University of New England with a Bachelor of Agriculture (Plant Science) and has over 15 years experience working in operational and agronomy roles in both Horticulture and Agriculture having previously worked in the Lockyer Valley in vegetable production and in central northern NSW in broad acre grain and fibre production.
Technical Director at EyeOnRisk: Food Safety Solutions
In 2019 Anthony started EyeOnRisk: Food Safety Solutions with his business partner Fleur Trickey. The company was formed with the aim of providing food safety leaders with the skills and opportunities to become food safety champions and excel in their field. Anthony aspires to be a Food Safety Visionary aiming to create Food Safety Champions throughout the industry through the use of the EyeOnRisk Food Safety Leadership Development pathway.
Previous to this Anthony was the QA Director of Food Safety Services in EAA at AIB International, and was responsible for quality delivery of AIB International’s Food Safety Services within the Europe, Africa, and Asia region.
Anthony joined AIB International in 1998 as a food inspector, trainer, and auditor. He has conducted hundreds of GMP inspections, as well as BRC, HACCP, and Quality Management System audits. He is approved by the International HACCP Alliance as a Lead HACCP instructor.
Anthony is an Internationally recognized speaker having presented HACCP to the South African Bureau of Standards, a statutory body on national standards; and common pest issues in food facilities to the Singapore Pest Management Association and Integrated Pest Management in Indonesia. He also was a key note speaker at the Rentokil Pest and Total Hygiene Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He previously led a 1-day workshop on IPM for FAOPMA in Chiang Mai, Thailand and was a key note speaker on Food Safety Culture at the Almarai-AIB conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Anthony’s passion for bringing knowledge to the industry is achieved through strategies and plans in training, education, audits, and inspections. He understands that evolving circumstances requires flexibility and he leads his team in understanding and meeting the ever-changing needs of the food industry.
General Manager Technical at OneHarvest
Dr Sharon Jones has broad global experience with over 25 years in the Food Industry. Developing, implementing and maintaining Food Safety Management Systems supported by commercial understanding and focus on the demand of changing legislation and customer expectations. Servicing clients including the United Nations, British Ministry of Defence, Australian and International retailers.
Dr Jones graduated from University of Queensland, with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Food Technology) and PhD (Food Science Management), graduated from Deakin University with a Master of Business Administration and the University of New England with Graduate Diploma in Education (Science).
Currently working with OneHarvest, who are the leaders in fresh produce in Australia. OneHarvest are a third generation family owned company who have been serving Australian families with fresh salads for over 35 years.