Food safety starts in the paddock

    7 June 2023

    Access to safe and nutritious food is everyone’s human right, and yet one in 10 people are affected by food insecurity and foodborne diseases around the world. Worst of all, unsafe foods contribute to poor health conditions that are entirely preventable. This World Food Safety Day highlights the importance of food production and standards that are informed and regulated by science and not misguided ideological demands on food production that can do more harm than good.

    “Stringent food systems play an important role in preventing exposure to microbial pathogens, toxins and other foodborne diseases that lead to impaired growth and development. Only when food is safe can we fully benefit from its nutritional value and the social enjoyment of sharing a good meal,” said Chief Executive Office of CropLife Australia, the national peak industry organisation for the plant science sector, Mr Matthew Cossey.

    “Australia’s agricultural sector has a global reputation for high produce safety standards and responsible use of advanced crop protection technologies to manage food toxin risks to consumers. Continuous pesticide residue monitoring shows that the use of these highly regulated products continue to safely minimise dangerous toxins caused by fungus and insect damage.

    “We are fortunate in Australia, like in most of the developed world, that food has never been safer and never has there been such variety of produce available to consumers. Plant science innovations underpinned by good agricultural practice and food standards ensure what we eat is safe and builds resilience into our food systems.

    “With 73 per cent of crop production attributable to the effective use of crop protection products, this must not be taken for granted. It is vital that regulation in Australia keeps up with advancements in science and technology so that farmers continue to have access to the best possible tools that enable production of nutritious fruits, vegetables and grains.

    Mr Cossey concluded, “There is no room for error. The implications of food contamination can have very real widespread public health consequences. Whether we grow, process, transport, store, sell, buy, prepare or serve food, we all have a role to play. Australian farmers and the plant science industry are doing their part, so the best thing consumers can do for their health is to continue to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and ensure proper food hygiene practices.”