The Australian Chamber of Fruit & Vegetable Industries Limited
System of Investigation
The FreshTest® program includes a strict system of investigation, corrective action and retesting following the detection of:
- Pesticide residues in a commodity which exceed the relevant maximum residue limit (MRLs). The program provides industry-driven self-regulation which helps to manage the responsible use of pesticides. All residue testing results are assessed against MRLs stipulated in the Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code (Standard 1.4.2 – Schedule 20 and 21).
- Microbial levels in a commodity which exceed the relevant maximum limits as determined by various food safety bodies.
- Traces of heavy metals in a commodity which exceed the relevant maximum limit stipulated in the Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code (Standard 1.4.1 – Schedule 19).
The MRLs are adopted into State/Territory Food Codes and appropriate regulations administered by respective state/territory food authorities.
These food safety standards place obligations on a range of operations to produce food that is safe and suitable to eat. Food safety systems utilise FreshTest® to verify that fresh produce is free from any food safety hazards for example chemical residue.
In the case of an MRL exceedance, FreshTest® requests a report on the causes of the incident and proposed corrective actions to be implemented to prevent a recurrence. Investigations have identified areas to support industry such as adherence to the chemical product label, withholding periods, spray drift and possible off-label use.
The screens were developed and regularly reviewed based on assessment of:
- Previous results and produce coverage
- Availability of suitable sampling and analytical methods
- Likelihood of residues occurring in produce
- Pesticides registered for use
- Advice from agronomists
- Consultation and coordination with National Residue Survey
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