Case Studies

Food safety

Securing South Australia’s Premium Food and Wine Industry. The Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) Food Safety Program was established to administer a legislative framework that applies food safety regulation to primary industry sectors.

The aim is to enable the implementation of national primary production and processing standards, to manage significant food safety risks and provide opportunities for industry to voluntarily lift  its own food safety standards. The program promotes and improves food safety through:
  • ensuring compliance with minimum national food safety standards
  • applying legislation, standards and codes along with risk management strategies
  • creating collaborative links between primary food producers and the relevant government departments.

The Challenge
South Australia has an enviable reputation as a producer of high quality food and wine.  Our wine grapes are grown in clean soil, our seafood comes from clean oceans and our agricultural produce is cultivated in a pristine environment. Demand for South Australian products is increasing due to our high quality safety and production standards.

This not only has health benefits but also economic benefits, bringing $16 billion into the State each year, creating jobs and placing the state at the forefront of a global market as a sought-after source of high quality produce.

To ensure this reputation is maintained and enhanced there needs to be constant vigilance to defend our food and our environment, from pests, disease and other factors that threaten that quality.

The challenge, therefore, was to systematically organise the right relationships, systems and procedures to guard and develop South Australia’s world class status.

The Solution
A comprehensive Food Safety Program was devised over many years to address the threats to the food safety of our produce. The program within Biosecurity SA, a division of PIRSA, complements other biosecurity activities aimed at defending our high reputation.

With responsibility for more than 1,200 businesses, the program works in partnership with industry to achieve cost-effective and positive food safety outcomes.

The program aims to:
  • reduce food borne illness associated with regulated industries and businesses
  • create consumer confidence in our food industries
  • strengthen market access
  • ensure primary production businesses comply with standards and regulations
  • create functional relationships between the primary  production industry and government departments.
These will be achieved through:

Businesses Regulation - The program has direct regulatory responsibility for accrediting:
  • 950 meat processors
  • 117 shellfish growers and harvesters
  • 103 poultry producers
  • 86 egg producers
  • 4 sprout producers
  • 21 citrus packers
  • 65 game meat field harvesters
  • 1500+ meat transport vehicles.
Critical aspects of the Food Safety Program include:-

South Australian Shellfish Quality Assurance Program (SASQAP) - The activities of SASQAP and the management of the seafood food safety scheme  include classification of shellfish harvesting areas, monitoring of harvesting areas, compliance, maintenance of export standards, the provision of testing services, and maintaining a NATA accredited lab.

Verification of Industry Standards and Compliance - The program has been responsible for delivering an audit function in part or in full since 1997 and has completed more than 18,000 audits since 1997. The Program regularly monitors microbiological indicators to verify businesses and industry sectors are appropriately managing process controls and producing safe food.

Regulation, Compliance & Enforcement - there is a graduated response to enforcement, which is consistent with the national Food Regulatory Enforcement Policy. Compliance is managed through assessment, accreditation and audit of regulated businesses and auditing is delivered either by a government audit service, or by approved auditors.

By concentrating on the ‘security of production’ we have increased our ability to mitigate and respond to major risks to future production, including environmental challenges and the maintenance of food safety standards.

Regulatory management is externally certified to the international standard ISO 9001:2008 | Certification, providing further confidence in the quality of PIRSA’s regulatory arrangements and the outcomes of the Program.

The Outcome
The Program has progressed well as we strengthen the security of production and deliver increasingly effective responses to threats of plant and animal pests, diseases, contaminants, and food borne illnesses.

As a result markets for South Australia’s safe, sustainable produce are expanding, and South Australia’s premium food and wine are recognised as safe products from a sustainable environment.
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