Australia vegetable producers are set to benefit from a more streamlined, cost-effective approach to food-safety certification, which will bring domestic and international standards into line.
The new initiative will see the Freshcare Food Safety and Quality Standard – commonly used by Australian vegetable producers to meet domestic certification requirements – benchmarked against the internationally recognised GlobalGAP standard, currently required to access many key export markets in Asia and the Middle East.
“This will lead to increased efficiencies and cost savings for Australian fresh produce exporters,” said Horticulture Innovation Australia chief executive, John Lloyd.
“Australian produce has a strong international reputation for being fresh, clean and safe, and as the horticulture industry looks to increase its presence in overseas markets, it’s vital that this reputation is backed up by an internationally recognised certification.”
Freshcare is working to develop a supplement to its current quality standard, allowing growers to achieve GlobalGAP recognition. The benchmarking process is expected to be completed by mid-2017.
Ausveg chief executive Simon Bolles welcomed the move, explaining that Australian producers needed to be proactive when it comes to the changing landscape of international trade.
“Evolving food safety demands could represent a barrier to trade for Australian vegetable and potato exports, and benchmarking Freshcare against the GlobalGAP standard will help keep overseas markets open to Australian growers."
The initiative is being delivered through Horticulture Innovation Australia – using vegetable industry levy funds and funds from the Australian Government – in partnership with Ausveg.