Advocacy group formed for Australian food cold chain

An advocacy group to improve the compliance and standards in the handling of food in the cold chain has been established in what it calls a “ground-breaking meeting” in Queensland.

The group, the first of its kind in Australia and called the Australian Food Cold Chain Council (AFCCC), had its inaugural session on August 7, 2017, bringing together some heavy hitters in the manufacturing, food-transport, refrigeration and cold-chain services.

The AFCCC was formed due to the growing pressure coming from the community about the costs and environmental damage caused by food wastage. The council aims to encourage innovation, compliance, waste reduction and safety across the Australian food cold chain.

“The new council is not about promoting an industry – we want to change the industry for the better,” Interim Chair Mark Mitchell said.

“One of our priorities will be to apply whatever pressure is needed in industry and in government to make sure the existing Australian standards for cold-chain food handling are properly followed.

“There’s lots of rhetoric in government programs, associations and among food handlers and suppliers about commitments to food-waste reduction and cold-chain compliance, but little, if nothing, is being done at any level about improving the cold chain, and ensuring that standards are followed. Australia’s track record in efficient cold-food handling, from farm to plate, is far from perfect.”

The interim directors of AFCCC are:

  • Stephen Elford: General Manager Australia New Zealand, Carrier Transicold.
  • Mark Mitchell: Managing Director, SuperCool Australia Pacific Pty Ltd.
  • Peter Lawrence: Technical Director ANZ, Thermo King.
  • Kyle Hawker: Transport Manager, Simplot Australia.
  • Adam Wade: National Transport Leader, Lion.
  • Kevin Manfield: General Manager Products & Markets, MaxiTRANS Australia Pty Ltd.

Plus, a nominated person representing the transport industry.

The council claims that, on average, Australians waste 860kg of food per person every year. It’s not just the food itself – it means all input into food production, including the water, soil and energy, are also wasted. On top of that, it means less food is available to feed the hungry.

It’s estimated that five per cent or more of Australia’s greenhouse-gas emissions come from food wastage.