Home' Grower : March 2013 Contents The South Australian Grower -- March 2013
Aust export groups
keenly watch US
food safety plans
THE Australian and New Zealand fresh produce
industries have been watching with interest the
debate surrounding the United States Food and
Drug Administration's much-anticipated proposed
rules on produce safety and preventive controls
under the Food Safety Modernisation Act to see
what -- if any -- impact this will have on exporters
to the US.
Speaking from the Centre for Produce Safety at
the University of California, Davis in the US where
he attended meetings on food safety, Produce
Marketing Association Australia-NZ chief executive
officer Michael Worthington said it was important
to keep in mind that so far only two rules, the
Produce Safety Standards Rule and the Preventive
Controls for Human Foods Rule, have been released
and that the industry has until May 16 to review the
proposed rules and provide comment.
"The general consensus is that the Produce
Safety Standards Rule is unlikely to cause much
comment and would be adopted with minor
adjustments only," Mr Worthington said.
"The Preventive Controls for Human Foods Rule
may require further review, particularly around
validation and verification data."
With the FDA releasing only two proposed rules at
this stage, and with two additional proposed rules
yet to be released for comment -- one covering
imports and the other covering third-party audits --
Mr Worthington said that it may still be some time
before the full impact of the rules on the Australian
and New Zealand fresh produce industry is known.
"We are hoping that existing compliance systems
already in use, such as GlobalGAP and NZGAP,
would remain acceptable under the new FSMA
rules, as the last thing our industries need are more
costly compliance systems and audits. However, it
is too early to confirm that this is the case and it
will be some months before it all becomes clear,"
"Globally, the Produce Marketing Association has
devoted energy to collaborating with the FDA by
participating in FSMA public meetings held by the
agency, providing comments on proposed FSMA
rules and guidance, and sharing their staff and
members' knowledge on industry food safety
practices and realities.
"PMA Global have developed a comprehensive
FSMA resource to help the global produce industry
better understand the law itself as well as the
proposed FDA regulations."
Mr Worthington said PMA Australia-NZ would
work closely with PMA Global to ensure appropriate
resources were available to the Australian and New
Zealand industry, through the Fresh Produce Safety
-- Australia and New Zealand website.
By COLIN BETTLES
Minister Julia Gillard has
acknowledged the nation's
growers are doing it tough finan-
cially because of the high
Australian dollar and other imme-
diate economic factors.
Ms Gillard says Labor's election
campaign focus heading into
September 14 will be on helping
the agriculture and horticulture
sectors realise the "incredible"
opportunities ahead, amid rising
food demand and economic
growth in the Asian region.
Responding to questions from
Fairfax Agricultural Media during
her address to the National Press
Club in Canberra at the end of
Januar y, Ms Gillard said producers
face "extraordinary pressures".
"I've talked extensively in the
speech about the pressures on our
economic diversity coming from
the high Australian dollar and
those pressures impinge on farm-
ers in a variety of ways," she said.
"Farmers are facing the conse-
quences of climate change.
"Climate change is not a future
tense proposition -- we are living
through climate change.
"And people who have worked
their land for year after year can
often talk to you passionately,
movingly, about the way in which
their land has changed and things
about how they go about making
their land productive have needed
to change as a result.
"So there's lots of pressures
"But in our agricultural sector
there are also some incredible
opportunities and that is what we
are focused on.
Ms Gillard said as hundreds of
millions more people become
middle class -- as seen with Asia's
rise -- they will change their diets,
and they will want more foods
that are produced in Australia.
They will want to eat and enjoy
the kind of things that you and I
like to eat and enjoy, she said.
"This is a huge opportunity for
Australian farmers and we've got
to be ready and right to seize it,"
"It's about what we do overseas,
it's about the productivity of on-
farm, it's about working with the
agricultural sector, it's about get-
ting the export links right.
After the September 14 election
date was announced at the Press
Club event, National Farmers'
Federation president Jock Laurie
called on the Federal government
to secure the agricultural sector's
future sustainability by consider-
ing and funding sensible long-
"In her address to the NFF's
2012 National Congress, the
Prime Minister called Australia an
agricultural powerhouse and said
that the future success of the
industry will require a joint part-
nership between farm businesses,
Government," Mr Laurie said.
"As the Prime Minister has herself
said, agriculture has been the sector
with the largest productivity
growth since 2007-08, while the
Opposition Leader has said that the
growth in agriculture was the rea-
son Australia avoided a recession
during the global financial crisis.
"To ensure the continued suc-
cess of agriculture in Australia,
now is the time to get the future
policy settings right."
PM acknowledges growers' tough job
To capitalise on Asian
Long-term policy funding
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