The technical program is underpinned by a strategy to identify current and emerging food safety and market access issues, prioritise these issues, and undertake technical work to provide potential solutions to overcome those of highest priority.

Three rounds of this strategy have been facilitated by SafeFish to date, the first in May 2011, second in June 2014 and the most recent in October 2016. In order to scope and help the partnership to prioritise the issues that were identified, SafeFish in conjunction with an external consultant produced the following reports:

May 2011
Hazards affecting Australian seafood

June 2014
Hazards affecting Australian seafood – June 2014

Following this process, the partnership group used these documents to decide what issues should form the technical work program for the following year.

CURRENT ISSUES

For the 2015 to 2016 period, SafeFish is currently facilitating technical work on the following issues which were identified as High-Priority by the partnership members:

Industry 'Best Practice Guide' on Packaging Options for Seafood, Addressing Clostridium Botulinum

SafeFish will be producing an ‘industry best practice’ guide on packaging options for decreasing/eliminating hazards such as Listeria monocytogenes and Clostridium botulinum in seafood products (both chilled and extended shelf-life variants). This package will detail new product developments that are available (thermal processing, Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP), shrink packing), food safety risks, other packaging options, trade implications/opportunities, standards that processors have to meet etc.).

SafeFish will engage with industry to determine current practices, future potential practices, and issues that may arise with current trading partners. 

This project is due to commence in Feb 2016 and be finalised by July 2016.

Biotoxin Test Kits

There are currently several research projects covering Paralytic Shellfish Toxins (PSTs) in different seafood species. The area that could be improved is the use of cheap PST test kits in risk management (saving industry time and costs by providing an option outside of laboratory testing). These test kits are currently being investigated in Tasmania (their sensitivities and effectiveness and validity for the toxin profiles found in Tasmania). 

SafeFish have sought additional funding for extending this work, and through leverage off the current Tasmania investigation in this field, the validation study will now be extended to include all states.

This project is due to commence in Feb 2016 and be finalised by July 2016.

Extension Activity: Virus Management Workshop

As an extension activity to work previously undertaken, a virus management workshop was held In March 2016 to demonstrate risk management options for oyster growing areas.

The workshop provided the following information:
•  Background biology to virus contamination issues - a brief summary of why virus contamination is difficult to manage. 

Key learning outcomes: Understanding that viruses behave differently from bacteria and need to be specifically considered in the management of the risk of faecal contamination of shellfish

• The role of bacterial standards in virus management, and the relationship between bacterial indicators and the risk of virus contamination.

Key learning outcomes: Knowledge that compliance with bacterial standards does not prevent viral outbreaks; and an understanding of the potential usefulness, limitations and interpretation of faecal coliform/E. coli monitoring.

• Sanitary surveys, viral sources, and the identification of key control points for managing virus contamination of growing areas.

Key learning outcomes: The ability to implement a comprehensive, systematic process in identifying the risk of virus contamination in growing area catchments.

• On-going management of growing areas and currency of shoreline survey information

Key learning outcomes: Ability to develop area-appropriate programmes for maintaining the currency of shoreline survey information in virus risk management across a variety of potential sources.

Sulphites in Abalone

More information available soon.

Food Authenticity in Seafood

More information available soon.