Identifying and managing the sources and routes of microbial contamination in leafy vegetables (VG22002)
What's it all about?
This program is assisting leafy vegetable growers improve their food safety systems by identifying and managing the sources and routes of microbial contamination.
Researchers will work closely with leafy vegetable growers and processors to gain deeper insights into sources and routes of contamination and identify ways to disrupt the transmission of these pathogens into the supply chain.
Known as ‘Safe Leafy Veg’, the initiative is founded on an innovative research, development and adoption model that has already proven effective in other Australian horticulture industries, such as melons.
The program employs a multi-pronged approach that involves engaging growers, benchmarking industry practices, identifying gaps in food safety management and promoting the adoption of best management practices to address any risks proactively.
Knowing the potential sources and routes of contamination is the first step towards any risks. The project will provide an independent review of current industry practices and monitor the critical food safety practices during production and postharvest processing. An understanding of ‘the most critical gaps’ in industry practice and implementation of ‘the most effective measures’ will ensure food safety risks are managed effectively.
Industry-led microbial surveillance will be undertaken as part of the risk management activities. The primary purpose of surveillance is to empower the growers to lead and manage their food safety by providing timely, data-based evidence and scientific support. This process will also allow the identification of hotspots for microbial contamination in the production and supply chain. These hotspots will become the target of best practice interventions. Other industries (such as melons) have successfully used microbial surveillance to verify and monitor the effectiveness of preventative food safety controls.
This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund