Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has released a report on lessons learned in the aftermath of Australia's strawberry tampering crisis with a key recommendation to beef up traceability measures within the horticulture sector.
Reviewed in consultation with government and industry stakeholders, the investigation has led to a recommendation for a plan to map out options and tools for enhanced traceability in the strawberry industry's complex supply chain.
The report also suggests “all jurisdictions should review their food incident response protocols” with a collaboration of research bodies and stakeholders to evaluate technical solutions to improve quality assurance throughout the supply chain.
Another key recommendation following the investigation into the incident involving needles found in strawberries in September 2018 focused on the need for improved communication during incidents, particularly those involving criminal matters.
“The government has already acted in response to this incident by strengthening penalties for intentional contamination of food, and helping FSANZ progress their review into high-risk horticulture sectors,” FSANZ CEO Mark Booth said.
“The report's recommendations, once implemented, will help ensure an improved response to any future incidents. These improvements will support our growers and ensure Australians can continue to trust in our effective and responsive food safety system.”