Food safety and QA risk management (MU16000)
What’s it all about?
From 2017 to 2020, this investment has worked to raise awareness across a broad range of risk management areas, and to provide mushroom growers with the knowledge and tools to better manage those risks. By building on the foundations of the industry’s long-running Food Safety and Quality Assurance Risk Management Service (FSQARMS) program, it has provided an effective risk management mechanism at both an individual business and broader industry level, through programmed, proactive and reactive activities.
This investment was closely linked to other Hort Innovation Mushroom Fund projects including Pest and disease management and research services (MU16003).
The project encompassed four key focus areas, as outlined below.
Standards and systems awareness
This project raised awareness and industry understanding of the Harmonised Australian Retailer Produce Scheme (HARPS) and facilitated transition processes for the sector, including providing Freshcare training and implementation support for several growers. Several mushroom businesses have successfully completed Freshcare eLearning and have fully implemented the Freshcare system on farm.
Verification frameworks and mechanisms
Independent and trusted verification mechanisms are essential for effective compliance systems. The Australian mushroom industry has a well-established verification testing service, supported by this project through advice, review and interpretation.
Communication and training
Throughout this investment, the project team has communicated and engaged with industry on a range of compliance-related topics through channels including the Australian Mushrooms Journal, e-newsletters and direct correspondence with growers. They also conducted specific training and awareness initiatives that sought to address specific ‘identified’ risk, such as listeria management and the safe and effective us of sanitisers.
Strategic quality assurance and food safety research
Australian mushroom growers face challenges that are common to sector participants across the world. Through collaboration and information sharing, the project team ensured relevant and current food safety and quality information was accessible to local industry members.
Core to the project was an industry support service which provided timely information and support to mushroom growers on request, identifying, managing, and resolving food safety and quality issues impacting individual businesses, and acting to support and protect the industry’s reputation.
Over the course of this project several articles were shared in the Australian Mushrooms Journal:
- Read about how Preplanning your approach helps to manage food safety risks in this article by food safety expert Clare Hamilton-Bate
- This Food safety and quality certification update provides information for businesses certified to Freshcare to assist with the transition from FSQ4 to FSQ4.1
- And this information about Food defence: Are we prepared? shares information about what it is, the issues surrounding it, and how to be prepared.
978 0 7341 4594 9
This project was funded through the Hort Innovation Mushroom Fund using the mushroom R&D levy and contributions from the Australian Government
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