Prospects for Australian emerging industries
Emerging industries play an important role in the Australian agricultural landscape, contributing to the national economy and helping meet changing global demand. This prospectus is...
Published: 8 Feb 2023
Author(s): Clare Winkel
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The Australian seaweed industry is small but growing rapidly and has a gross value of production of $3 million. Australia is a net importer of seaweed at about $40 million, of which 85% is for human consumption. Other uses include for animal feed, fertilisers, cosmetics, pharmaceutical products and biofuels. Seaweed-based food products are sold in Australia online, at retail stores and markets, in restaurants, and to food processors.
In 2019, there were more than 36 food safety recalls/import alerts for seaweed-based foods globally, and Australia instigated 50% of these recalls/alerts. All Australian food producers must meet section 3.2.1 (Food safety programs) of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code as a minimum, but many local food safety authorities and regulators have little to no understanding of seaweed food safety hazards.
The primary objective of this project was to develop a food safety program for the Australian seaweed processing industry specifically covering seaweed for human consumption. The program outlines the potential food safety hazards that could occur in seaweed-based food products. Two case studies for land-grown and wild-collected seaweed food products are provided. Further, a food safety management system was developed to guide seaweed processors on meeting and exceeding market requirements. The management system has worked examples of management procedures, policies, forms and schedules required for third-party hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) certification. As well as using the management system as a guide, it is recommended seaweed growers and processors expand their knowledge of state and federal food safety regulations that apply to their business.
The HACCP plans developed as part of this project are available through the below links. The food safety management system manual is available to seaweed processors on request to AgriFutures Australia.