Foodwise (news articles)
01 June 2015
Issues considered by the committee at its meeting held in Sydney on 20 May included;
The committee noted a paper outlining the management of sewage contamination associated with the April storm events. Sewage discharges associated with these events were noted as being unprecedented for the NSW Shellfish Program. Members were advised that the Food Authority had undertaken F-RNA bacteriophage testing of shellfish from potentially impacted harvest areas. This novel indicator of contamination allowed the Food Authority to verify the closure period for the areas and ensure that contaminated product was not marketed. The committee noted this work and the potential that this methodology has to provide enhanced food safety outcomes whilst also minimising industry closure periods. A research proposal to validate this methodology in NSW waters is being developed in conjunction with the South Australian Research and Development Institute.
A paper outlining the shellfish traceability project was delivered to committee members. They were advised that the project was a short compliance survey to measure and test regulatory compliance and traceability of shellfish through the supply chain from retail businesses back to the harvest area. Results of the project showed that the majority of retail premises inspected had been supplied shellfish that could be traced back to suppliers and generally the compliance rate of traceability to licensed processors was good. However, there were a few issues identified which will be followed up in the next phase of the project.
The committee were provided with an update on the Harvest and Hold Policy (Scheme) which was endorsed last December. Members were advised that it had been largely well received by industry who believe it will have significant positive impacts. As at 12 May, the Scheme had been implemented in four estuaries with three more scheduled for implementation prior to 30 June 2015. Members were advised that the Harvest and Hold Policy (Scheme) had been largely well received by industry.
The committee was asked to provide feedback on the proposal to remove the requirement for spat businesses to be licensed with the Food Authority from 1 September 2015 and also the proposal to permit previous license holders to become members of local shellfish committees as outlined in the draft Food Regulation 2015. Members were advised that public consultation will commence on 29 May 2015 and conclude on 26 June 2015.