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Ongoing project

Melon food safety – monitoring and support (VM20005)

Key research provider: NSW Department of Primary Industries

What’s it all about?

This project is building a strong food safety culture within the melon industry by providing a food safety testing and environmental monitoring program. The goal is to ensure the adoption of improved food safety practice is maintained within the industry. This investment will be the key to consistently delivering safe fruit and maintaining consumers and trading partners’ confidence in Australian melons – which is essential for the success of export projects and market access maintenance.

The project will also leverage previous investments by reviewing the project reports and building upon the existing knowledge and current industry practices.

Project progress and information will also be delivered via the industry communication program Melon industry communication program (VM20006).

Over the past six months, the Project Team has been focusing on establishing the microbial food safety surveillance program that serves as an early warning mechanism to predict food safety failure threats and manage them before they turn into a crisis. The surveillance program, combined with traceback investigations and root-cause analyses, is assisting the growers and packers in identifying sources and routes of contamination in their production and processing facilities.

The ‘support’ component of the project focuses on increasing the food safety knowledge of growers and converting this knowledge into practice and behavioural change towards the food safety culture. This is being delivered via site visits, one-on-one consultation and virtually through webinars and videos. The industry forums and conferences are used to share key findings and outputs of the project to the industry to enrich the existing resources and build capacity towards food safety management.

A food safety helpdesk service is offered to all supply chain participants, including regulators, to address their melon food safety enquiries which could otherwise be escalated and cause public concerns.

Related levy funds

This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Melon Fund.