The Chairman of the Australian Food Cold Chain Council (AFCCC), Mark Mitchell, made a ‘call to arms’ at the APEC 2021 virtual conference for players in the cold chain to make better use of existing technologies as a means of building a robust and compliant cold chain.
He told the international delegates from the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) countries that only a compliant cold chain had a chance of delivering consistent food quality and reducing food loss and waste.
Food waste in Australia alone is valued at AUD$3.8 billion at farm gate prices, coupled with the huge impact of poor temperature control in the cold chain that results in reduced shelf life.
Mitchell said that while product traceability encompassing just location and time might work for non-refrigerated consumer goods, it wasn’t sufficient for food.
The AFCCC Chairman said technology and automatic systems for monitoring temperature throughout the whole journey were already available, but perhaps under-utilised in the food industry.
Mitchell’s message for cold chain practitioners who want to be part of a compliant cold chain was to become verifiers in the processes that allow measurement of temperature at all points.
A 2020 study funded by the Environment Department and Refrigerants Australia found three areas that were crying out for improvement, better food handling, an increased use of tracking/tracing technologies and improved ‘chain of custody’ documentation.
Mr Mitchell said that compliance to world’s best practices was on the APEC agenda because of the food loss and waste crisis while commercial, consumer, logistics and contractual arrangements should no longer ignore food safety and the opportunity for waste reduction.