Primary production and processing standards for leafy vegetables, melons, and berries

Published on Wednesday, 10 April 2024 at 9:23:52 AM

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has developed new Australia-wide standards to improve food safety for the primary production and processing of:

  • leafy vegetables
  • melons
  • berries.

The new standards are automatically adopted in the WA Food Act 2008 and will be enforced Australia-wide from 12 February 2025.

The new standards were developed to improve food safety in the three commodities and to prevent future outbreaks and foodborne illness in the community. FSANZ has estimated the total annual cost of illness in Australia from these three commodities at $20.8 mil.

Leafy vegetables and melon growers and processors must now legally register as a food business with their local government, and berry primary producers and processes must notify as a food business with the local government, before the standards commence on 12 February 2025.

Primary producers and processors of leafy vegetables or melons are required by the standards to manage food safety risks by doing the following:

  • Identify potential food safety hazards in operations; and
  • Implement control measures to manage the hazards; and
  • Have evidence to show that the control measures have been implemented; and
  • Verify the effectiveness of the control measures.

Formal documentation of how food safety will be managed will be required in a food safety management statement. The food safety management statement must then be provided to your local government for approval. During the routine inspections by your local government, they will check that you have been operating according to your food safety management statement.

The food safety management statement will need to describe how the key food safety risk areas in the standards will be managed:

  • traceability
  • soil
  • fertiliser
  • water
  • seed/seedlings (leafy vegetables only)
  • growing sites
  • weather events
  • premises and equipment
  • temperature of harvested leafy vegetables
  • washing and sanitation of harvested leafy vegetables
  • animals and pests
  • skills and knowledge
  • health and hygiene of personnel and visitors

Refer to the following grower guide which details common practices to manage food safety risks in primary production and processing.

Food Safety Grower Guides – Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia & New Zealand (external site)

Visit the website HERE for further information.

Templates to assist growers will be available soon.

Read the factsheet here

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