Food Safety and Protection

Key Learnings from the APAC Food Safety Conference

The APAC Food Safety Conference was held last week in Sydney, Australia. As usual, it provided plenty of knowledge sparks and compliance tips. There were many great topics, including horticulture outbreaks, local food law updates, optimising your LinkedIn profile and methods to identify food fraud.

There was also a decent focus on Food Defense and Intentional Adulteration, which I found to be particularly useful. Keep reading to get a summary of my key learnings from this conference.

Intentional Adulteration of Strawberries

Last year, Australia was subject to one of the biggest food recalls due to deliberate contamination. You can read the final report issued by Food Standards Australia New Zealand by clicking here.

Detective Inspector, Craig McGrath from Queensland Police Service provided an investigative perspective of the incident. Of the many insights offered, I believe the following points can benefit the entire food industry, regardless of the commodity handled.  

Employee Identification

Can you identify all of your employees by name and face? Being able to correctly identify workers may be an issue if your business relies on a casual or transient workforce. It may also be difficult if you rely on a labour-hire company to fill employment opportunities. A key area to focus on is to know a worker’s full legal name, nick-name and their contact details.

Customer Compliant Reporting Procedures

Has your customer service team received adequate training in how to deal with customer complaints? Procedures should cover when to escalate an incident and what customer details are required.

Site Security

Is your site security adequate? If your facility uses camera surveillance, the captured footage should be clear, identifiable and cover all areas of potential risk. Any security recordings also need to be held for an adequate timeframe.

Supply Chain Vulnerability

Do you know how many touchpoints there are in each of your raw material and finished product supply chains? Conducting a mapping exercise for each will provide your business with a better understanding of areas of potential exposure and vulnerability. You can learn how to perform a supply chain vulnerability by registering your interest here.

Social Media Policy

One of the biggest drivers of extending the needles in the strawberries incident was social media. Social media played a significant role in providing not only copy-cat incidents but also, people seeking their 5-minutes of fame. Unfortunately, you will not be able to control what people put on social media. Your business and industry can, however, prepare by implementing media response procedures as part of your food recall and crisis management plans.

FSMA Requirements for Foreign Facilities

I also had the pleasure of speaking on Day 1 with my talk covering FSMA requirements for Foreign Facilities. If you are interested in learning more about the FSMA rule on Preventive Controls for Human Foods, please click here.

APAC Food Safety Lessons

Did any of the critical learnings discussed from the APAC Food Safety Conference trigger you to take action? Did you identify any gaps in your food safety systems? Share your insights with the HACCP Mentor community by leaving a comment below.

4 thoughts on “Key Learnings from the APAC Food Safety Conference”

  1. Hi Amanda,
    We have continued interest in Food Fraud and Food Defense. Any information you may have to offer regarding these particular topics would be of value to us.

    1. Amanda Evans-Lara

      Thanks Alan. If you use the search function in the top navigation menu you will be able to find other articles about food fraud and food defense.

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