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Food Safety Schemes

The NSW Food Authority’s microbiological testing verification program involves random sampling and testing of selected ready-to-eat (RTE) products manufactured in NSW under the Regulation. In addition, a surveillance program for egg farms and eggs grading facilities was introduced in July 2013 to gather information on the prevalence of Salmonella on these premises.

The purpose is to provide a snapshot of the overall compliance of license holders to microbiological testing requirements. Microbiological testing complements the audit and investigation procedures, which together provide information regarding the overall effectiveness of regulation and industry performance.

Data summarised in this document comprises results obtained from the Food Authority’s microbiological testing verification and surveillance program from July 2009 to June 2014.

Results

Key findings of the survey include:

  • a total of 1,271 ready-to-eat (RTE) food products were tested and 96% of them complied with the regulatory requirements
  • NSW dairy products demonstrate 95% compliance with regulatory requirements
  • a total of 97% of RTE meat products complied with the regulatory requirements. In addition, hygienic status of NSW Uncooked Comminuted Fermented Meats (UCFM) products has improved significantly since the 2001 requirements took effect
  • all of the NSW manufactured fresh cut fruits and vegetables and unpasteurised juice tested complied with the regulatory requirements, and 92% of sprouts were compliant
  • the majority (94%) of high risk seafood products, eg raw oysters, bottled oysters, and cooked/smoked seafood was compliant
  • Salmonella was found in 100% of farms included in the egg farm verification program. The proportion was higher than that obtained in the baseline evaluation survey in 2010/11. However, only six farms were included in the verification program and 49 were part of the baseline
  • in addition, Salmonella was also found in 67% of egg grading facilities. This finding reinforces a thru-chain approach to managing food safety risks associated with poorly handled raw-egg based products over the past 5 years.

This report provides an assurance that the majority of high risk RTE products manufactured in NSW are safe. All non-compliant products were caused by a breakdown in the manufacturing practices, and not by the intrinsic property of the food itself. Ongoing testing is still needed to ensure that food safety and compliance information for NSW products produced under the Regulation remains up to date.

Table of contents  
Content
Executive summary
Introduction
- Verification and Surveillance Program
Materials and Methods
Results and discussion
- Overall results
- Dairy
- Meat
- Plant products
- Seafood
- Eggs
Follow-up actions
References
Appendix 1.
- Dairy
- Meat
- Plant products
- Seafood
Appendix 2. Type of samples in each industry sector