The State’s melon-lovers will be able to track the entire paddock-to-plate journey of their produce, with the launch of a new pilot program by the NSW Government that will use QR codes to connect consumers with fruit growers.
Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall announced the melon safety program, which he said today would enhance the NSW Government’s traceability systems by providing information on origin, freshness and safety, and help prevent bacteria outbreaks.
“As a result of COVD-19, people have become more familiar with using QR codes, and now they will help industry deliver high-quality, traceable melons,” Mr Marshall said.
“Through a simple scan of your mobile phone, the program will connect consumers with growers, packers, exporters, regulators and retailers – so you know every step of the journey your produce has been on, from paddock to plate.
“Two years ago there was a national listeriosis outbreak, which we hope to never see again, and solutions like this will keep industry experts ahead in the traceability game.
“This is a national program, spearheaded by the NSW Government, which allows growers to promote their farms and growing regions, while also providing consumers with confidence about the products they are purchasing for the family dinner table.”
The NSW Government, through the Department of Primary Industries, has partnered with FreshChain, an Australian-owned and operated technology company, to deliver the pilot program.
Mr Marshall said the call had now gone out for expressions of interest from horticultural businesses, especially melons, berries and leafy vegetables, to participate in the pilot for trialing traceability in the domestic and export market supply chains.
“While the program gives consumers increased confidence in what they’re buying, it also presents an opportunity for our growers to showcase their world-class produce and food safety culture,” Mr Marshall said.
“The State’s producers are at the forefront of the rapidly evolving digital traceability opportunities worldwide and solutions like this support the National Traceability Framework and strengthen competitiveness of Australian exports.
“Growers need to see a return on investment and maintain compliance with local and export market requirements.”
FreshChain was funded under an Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment grant. The program is co-funded by Hort Innovation using melon growers R&D levy.