Campylobacter and Salmonella reduction focus for Aus and NZ

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Australia and New Zealand have targeted the reduction of foodborne illness, particularly Campylobacter and Salmonella, during a meeting on food regulation.

Australian Ministers, the New Zealand Minister responsible for food safety and the Australian Local Government Association agreed it should be one of the priority areas for 2017 – 2021.

Ministers requested development of a draft national strategy, noting New Zealand has an existing one on Campylobacter, for consideration at the next forum meeting in November this year.

It should outline specific interventions across the supply chain to reduce foodborne illness associated with Campylobacter and Salmonella.

The strategy is to be developed with industry, include improved transparency through monitoring across the food chain and be based on contemporary evidence.

Cause number one and two

Campylobacter causes the most common foodborne illness in New Zealand with 6,218 cases notified in 2015.

Poultry meat, unpasteurised milk and untreated drinking water are the most common sources.  

Salmonella is the second most common cause of bacterial foodborne illness.

It is a notifiable disease in all Australian states and territories and caused more than 11,000 cases in 2012.

THC, sugar and fats and oils

The Australian and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation is responsible for ensuring the system is based on scientific evidence and expertise and protects consumer health and safety.

Ministers supported the draft standard that will allow low-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) hemp seeds to be sold as a food.

The standard will take effect six months after it has been gazetted and Ministers acknowledged there is still New Zealand and State and Territory legislation that prohibits their sale as food.

They also discussed updates on food labelling of sugar and fats and oils and released the two year progress report on the Health Star Rating system.

Meanwhile, The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in New Zealand has extended a warning against collecting shellfish on the Waikato west coast due to Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins at levels of concern.

The affected area includes the Waikato River mouth (Port Waikato) southwards to Tirua Point south of Kawhia Harbour. The warning includes Raglan, Aotea and Kawhia Harbours.

Routine tests on shellfish samples have shown levels of PSP toxins above the safe limit of 0.8 mg/kg set by MPI. Anyone eating shellfish from this area is potentially at risk of illness and cooking does not remove the toxin.

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The grant comes from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Grant to study disease burden of Salmonella in sub-Saharan Africa

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