The NSW Food Authority is a NSW Government Department that regulates the production of aquacultured seafood from pond to plate in NSW. It’s their job to ensure that all food produced for human consumption is safe to eat and labelled correctly. They work with industry to not only protect the consumers but also protect the industry. Just one producer supplying poor produce to the market can have massive ramifications to all farmers. We are all in this industry together so we all work together with the authority to help protect our commercial activities. This was highlighted recently when an oyster farmer was fined $42,000 for harvesting oysters when the river was closed for harvesting. In the old days there would have been a massive hue and cry for this huge fine, but this fine went through with the support of the majority of industry. We all now realise the huge damage another oyster scare could have for the whole seafood industry. Not just the oyster industry but all seafood sales drop every time there is any sort of seafood problem as people just stop buying seafood and have more chicken or beef instead.
If you are going to produce seafood (yabbies, fish, oysters, etc.) for human consumption you need to be licensed by the NSW Food Authority. To find out more info and register go to www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au. The Food Authority is there to protect both the consumer and the industry. To ensure the industry is well informed and involved in the decision making process the Seafood Industry Conference (SIC) has been formed. The NSW Seafood Industry Conference was established in 2004 by the Minister for Primary Industries. The Conference was established under the Food Regulation 2004 for the purposes of consultation with the NSW seafood industry in relation to the Seafood Food Safety Scheme as it relates to commercial fishermen, fishing co-operatives, seafood wholesalers and distributors, and land based aquaculture businesses.
The Minister for Primary Industries invites organisations represented on the Conference to nominate a representative. Membership appointments are for a two year term. The Minister appoints an independent chair, a consumer representative and an industry employees’ representative. The NSW Aquaculture Authority has a seat on this committee. For the latest meeting information see the latest NSWAA Newsletter for members. To find out more about the Seafood Industry Conference go to www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au
Food safety program templates for the aquaculture industry in NSW as well as additional information is available within the members section.