Title:

Contextualising shellfish food safety in Northern Australia

Project Number:

2020-021

Organisation:

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) Taroona

Principal Investigator:

Sarah Ugalde

Project Status:

Current

FRDC Expenditure:

$147,000.00

Program(s):

Industry

Need

The emerging edible oyster industry in northern Australia involves Aboriginal communities, industry and governments and is working towards improvements in productions systems, biosecurity and capacity development. Initial volumes produced by this developing industry are likely to be small scale, targeting local markets, however there is significant potential to expand overtime to service the broader Australian and international markets. To enable industry access to supply these markets there is a need to ensure appropriate food safety. Preliminary shellfish quality assurance assessments have been conducted at oyster farming trials in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. However, there remains a gap in the knowledge of shellfish food safety risks and the most appropriate way to administer a shellfish food safety program in Northern Australia. Information on the specific food safety risks in tropical Australia to inform the application or contextualise ASQAP in Northern Australia remains a gap. There is also a further need to consider how ASQAP can be applied to a developing industry in a remote context. Tropical Australia has unique challenges of temperature, environment, limited infrastructure and remoteness. The emerging tropical oyster industry requires an assessment of the risks and options to manage the sale of an initial small-scale production of farmed bivalve shellfish produced in Northern Australia.

Objectives

1. Perform an assessment of food safety concerns and associated risks in tropical Australia

2. Provide recommendations on appropriate harvest area classification systems (based on water and/or meat results) and monitoring and risk management protocols for oyster farming in tropical Australian environmental and remote contexts

3. Develop models for shellfish food safety programs in tropical Australian conditions