Major grocery retailers and the horticulture industry have agreed to streamline fresh-produce safety requirements across the fresh-produce supply chain in Australia.
Federal Assistant Minister for Agriculture Senator Anne Ruston announced the initiative, which will be funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation), Australia’s horticulture research and development corporation.
Hort Innovation CEO John Lloyd says the new measure will bring down the number of audit elements required to supply the nation’s major grocery retailers from 200 combined to around 60 and will strengthen food-quality standards through acceptance on internationally benchmarked auditing programs.
“This new streamlined food-safety-audit initiative is a win for an estimated 14,000 growers across Australia who currently supply the nation’s leading fresh-produce retailers,” he said. “It will lower the cost of doing business for the industry, which is estimated to save growers and producers $40 million a year through more efficient auditing processes.”
Mr Lloyd thanked ALDI, Coles, Costco, Metcash and Woolworths for their commitment to the standardisation of fresh-produce food-safety measures.