Plant products not currently in scheme
The plant products food safety scheme was introduced in 2005 and applies to the following ‘high risk’ plant product industries:
- fresh cut fruit and vegetables
- unpasteurised juices
- seed sprouts
- vegetables in oil.
These products were highlighted in a report prepared by Food Science Australia (CSIRO) in 2000 on the food safety risk of plant products.
Since the report was published, there has been an increase in other plant products, or ‘gap’ products that currently fall outside the scope of the food safety scheme, such as soy products, fermented vegetables, vegetable-based dips and sauces, mixed salads and fresh-cut herbs.
The NSW Food Authority reviewed the plant products food safety scheme in 2014 to determine whether the new plant products are ‘high risk’ and need to be included in the food safety scheme.
Further information is available in the document Background information – plant products not regulated by FSS, April 2014 (pdf 727KB)
Table of contents
- Soy products
- Fermented vegetables
- Vegetable-based dips & sauces
- Mixed salads
- Fresh cut vegetables excluded from the FSS
- Edible seaweed
The review found no specific hazards that would justify any of the new plant products as being classed as ‘high risk’, and therefore they should not be included in the FSS.
The microbiological testing determined that the plant products tested were generally of a good or acceptable microbiological standard.
10 samples (3.3%) were classified unsatisfactory due to an elevated level of B. cereus, CPS and/or E. coli.
3 tofu samples were found to be unsatisfactory due to elevated levels of CPS, B.cereus, and B.cereus and E.coli. Another tofu sample was found to be unsatisfactory due to very low level of Salmonella.
3 mixed salad samples were unsatisfactory due to presence of B.cereus.
3 vegetable based dips and sauces were unsatisfactory due to an elevated level of B.cereus and E.coli.
As correct refrigeration would inhibit the growth of organisms in these cases, the survey highlighted the importance of keeping these products under refrigeration.
Full results are available in the document Plant products not within the FSS report April 2014 (453 KB, 28pp)