Australian farmers have transformed the way they pick and pack fresh fruit and vegetables to ensure consumers continue to have access to the highest quality fresh produce in retail outlets across the country.
Faced with the difficult task of picking and packing the produce for Australian families whilst keeping staff safe, farmers have implemented a range of new measures to ensure consumers can continue to have access to the great array of Aussie fruits and vegetables.
“We’ve seen a number of changes on farm to ensure that our staff are safe and we can continue to supply consumers with fresh vegetables”, said John Said, the CEO of Fresh Select, which grows lettuce and brassica vegetables in Victoria’s Werribee South.
“As an industry, our staff are critically important to ensure continued supply of fresh produce. We’ve equipped some of our staff with the tools to work from home and for those harvesting and packing with protective clothing, such as face masks and disposable coveralls, whilst maintaining the social distancing of 1.5m. We’ve also seen changes to the way our teams operate, with designated break areas and split shifts.”
“Consuming fresh produce is more important now that ever. We know the proven benefits of eating fruits and vegetables can provide and we want to reinforce the message that the virus is not transmittable by food,” he said.
Produce Marketing Association Australia-New Zealand (PMA A-NZ) Head of Food Safety, Deon Mahoney confirmed the importance of consumers having access to Australia’s safe and fresh produce.
“Fresh fruit and vegetables are part of a healthy diet. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes is more important than ever before”, said Mahoney.
“Fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, oranges, strawberries and pomegranate are shown to help increase immunity,” he said.
Mr Mahoney said that farmers are doing everything in their power to ensure business continuity and that consumers can have peace of mind that produce is safe to consume.
“Food authorities around the World have confirmed that food is not a vehicle for the transmission of the virus. Combined with the high-level of food safety practices on Australian farms, we’re incredibly fortunate to have access to such a diverse range of high-quality fruits and vegetables”, Mahoney said.
PMA A-NZ, Australia’s leading industry body for the fresh produce industry, are encouraging consumers to add their voice on what they love most about Australian farmers and produce, by uploading an image to social media with the #JoyofFresh.