The New South Wales government has announced a new melon safety programme set to enlist FreshChain and its traceability technology.
Adam Marshall, the state’s minister for agriculture, said the pilot programme would use QR codes to connect consumers with fruit growers, help prevent bacteria outbreaks and enhance the traceability systems by providing information on origin, freshness and safety.
“As a result of Covid-19, people have become more familiar with using QR codes, and now they will help industry deliver high-quality, traceable melons,” Marshall said.
“Through a simple scan of your mobile phone, the programme will connect consumers with growers, packers, exporters, regulators and retailers – so you know every step of the journey your produce has been on, from paddock to plate.”
Marshall said improving these capabilities was particularly crucial for the melon industry given its challenges with listeriosis.
“Two years ago there was a national listeriosis outbreak, which we hope to never see again, and solutions like this will keep industry experts ahead in the traceability game,” he said.
The state government partnered with FreshChain, an Australian-owned and operated technology company, to deliver the pilot programme and the call has gone out for expressions of interest from horticultural businesses, especially melons, berries and leafy vegetables, to participate.
“While the programme gives consumers increased confidence in what they’re buying, it also presents an opportunity for our growers to showcase their world-class produce and food safety culture,” Marshall said.
“The state’s producers are at the forefront of the rapidly evolving digital traceability opportunities worldwide and solutions like this support the National Traceability Framework and strengthen the competitiveness of Australian exports.
“Growers need to see a return on investment and maintain compliance with local and export market requirements.”