Study pi­lot bil­ity Tracea

NZ Grower - - NEWS - N Chris­tia Glenys By

United Fresh de­cided to un­der­take the pi­lot partly as a re­sponse to the yersinia out­break last year, and to look at what trace­abil­ity chal­lenges were likely to hit the fresh pro­duce in­dus­try in the fu­ture.

Hans Mau­rer, United Fresh’s knowl­edge of­fi­cer, said it was de­cided to take the ap­proach of walk­ing be­fore run­ning so straw­ber­ries were picked for the pi­lot, al­though he em­pha­sised the find­ings could re­late to any fresh veg­etable or fruit.

Straw­berry NZ’S ex­ec­u­tive man­ager Mick Ah­ern said the straw­berry in­dus­try, rep­re­sented by Straw­berry Grow­ers New Zealand Inc, vol­un­teered to the sup­port ini­tia­tive as an act of “good cit­i­zen­ship” within the New Zealand do­mes­tic horticulture busi­ness.

“SGNZ is a mem­ber of United Fresh and an af­fil­i­ated prod­uct group un­der Hort NZ. It is also an emerg­ing in­dus­try body that wanted to be at the fore­front of as­sist­ing the Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries eval­u­ate New Zealand food safety pro­cesses in gen­eral. We also wished to demon­strate to cus­tomers that we are proac­tive in this space. We think it has been a good ex­er­cise and will be keen to fol­low up on the find­ings along­side other horticulture prod­uct groups” Mick said. The straw­ber­ries sec­tor took a proac­tive ap­proach and, past trace­abil­ity records were avail­able. In ad­di­tion the fruit is pre­dom­i­nantly sold packed, and presents fewer trace­abil­ity chal­lenges than prod­uct sold loose.

The ob­jec­tive of the pi­lot study was to gain a snap shot of the do­mes­tic mar­ket “ex­ter­nal” trace­abil­ity sys­tems. In other words, can a prod­uct be tracked ef­fec­tively from retail shelf back­wards to the grower in a timely man­ner?

Most or­ga­ni­za­tions have ef­fec­tive “in­ter­nal” trace­abil­ity sys­tems. The chal­lenge is whether each part of the sup­ply chain trace­abil­ity works well to­gether.

The draft re­port is soon to be com­pleted, pi­lot par­tic­i­pants will be con­sulted with in the new year and a fi­nal re­port given to Straw­ber­ries New Zealand and the United Fresh board in Fe­bru­ary or March. It was car­ried out with the as­sis­tance of

____________________________________________________________ Early re­sults from a trace­abil­ity pi­lot study has shown some ar­eas for im­prove­ment along the chain from pick­ing to pur­chase by the con­sumer.

Food­stuffs, Pro­gres­sive En­ter­prises, M G Mar­ket­ing GS1 New Zealand and T&G.

“We looked at for­mal sup­ply chains, not farm­ers’ mar­kets or white vans on the side of the road with­out writ­ing,” he said.

The aim was to trace straw­berry pun­nets la­belled on-farm from the grower to a whole­saler (or not) then on to su­per­mar­kets.

Mr Mau­rer said con­sumers wanted to have con­fi­dence that food was safe to eat and good food safety en­sured that. Re­tail­ers and whole­salers, if they were in­volved, had trace­abil­ity chal­lenges as they needed to know the sale was recorded cor­rectly, the la­bel was meet­ing any reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments and the prod­uct con­formed to their stan­dards. They also needed to know it was pos­si­ble to get back to the grower of the crop if nec­es­sary.

Prac­tices in the in­dus­try and sys­tems are gen­er­ally pretty good but en­sur­ing ef­fec­tive trace­abilty through­out the sup­ply chain will need in­dus­try co-op­er­a­tion.

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