Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has called for feedback on a proposal to develop new standards for 'high-risk' horticulture.
Mark Booth, chief executive of FSANZ, said the proposal is looking specifically at three sectors: leafy vegetables, melons, and berries as there are currently no consistent, national regulatory food safety requirements applied to these.
“The vast majority of horticultural produce in Australia is safe and healthy, however outbreaks linked to particular produce sectors continue to occur,” Booth said.
“At the request of ministers responsible for food regulation, FSANZ is reassessing the need to amend the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code to enact a primary production and processing standard to manage food safety for high-risk horticulture.”
FSANZ will assess if sprouts and ready-to-eat minimally processed fruits and vegetables, which are currently covered by existing standards in the code, need further consideration.
“This is the first of two public rounds of consultation. This initial round of consultation is seeking information from stakeholders to help us better understand these high-risk sectors and whether a regulatory approach is required – including what that regulation might look like,” Booth said.
“We are also establishing a standard development advisory group consisting of representatives from industry peak bodies and government regulators to assist with and advise on the current work.”
FSANZ will be accepting submissions on the issue until Wednesday 18 March 2020.