The New South Wales Department of Primary Industries is placing QR codes on melons to trace the fruit from the farm, all the way to the consumers' fridges.
According to Research horticulturist S.P. Singh, the idea to use melons, and not some other fruit, was partly due to their size and to problems that arose in tracing listeria contamination two years ago. An outbreak in 2018 killed seven people and led to one woman having a miscarriage; 16 more people in Australia were infected with listeria and two in Singapore. It was later traced to rock melons grown in the Riverina region.
Following successful results, the state's melon lovers will be able to track the entire paddock-to-plate journey of their produce with the new pilot program by the NSW Government. Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said the program 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," 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. Solutions like this will keep industry experts ahead in the traceability game."
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