New Zealand and Australia are facing a food safety scare and the need for traceability of fresh produce is raising several questions. Delegates were addressed by food health specialists at the Produce Marketing Association – New Zealand and Australia Fresh Connections 2012 conference that was held in June in Melbourne.
Dr. Craig Shadbolt, the unit manager for foodborne illness investigation of the NSW Food Authority spoke on local and international experiences of disease outbreaks caused by small crops. The United States FDA reported that 146 people were infected with the outbreak-associated diseases along with thirty deaths and a pregnancy miscarriage.
Jensen Farms, Colorado is said to be the place where the outbreak occurred, where inappropriate sanitation procedures were prominent for the transmission of the disease, along with the use of 2nd hand equipment. All rockmelons that came from Jensen Farms were prompted to be recalled. Mr. Shadbolt explained how Jensen Farms faced numerous lawsuits before going bankrupt after the outbreak, while the whole rockmelon sector in the US collapsed overnight.
He says that the incident played a major role in highlighting the need for Aussie farmers to make vegetable and fruit tracking mechanisms available on their farms, along with the need for training courses in food safety.