Volume 19 Part 1 Article 9
Title: Assessment of Primary Production of Horticultural Safety Management System of Mushroom Farms in South Africa
Author: Garikayi Dzingirayi and Lise Korsten
Growing global consumer concern over food safety compliance in the fresh produce industry requires producers to implement necessary quality assurance systems. Varying effectiveness has been noted in how countries and food companies interpret and implement food safety standards. A diagnostic instrument (DI) for global fresh produce industries was developed to measure the compliancy of companies with implemented food safety standards. The DI is comprised of indicators and descriptive grids for context factors, control and assurance activities to measure food safety output. The instrument can be used in primary production to assess food safety performance. In this study the DI was used to measure food safety standard compliancy of mushroom farming in South Africa. From 2013 to 2014, ten farms were independently assessed for their horticultural safety management system (HSMS) compliance via in-depth interviews with the quality assurance personnel at each farm. The data was processed using Microsoft Office Excel 2010 and represented in spider web diagrams. The diagnosis revealed that the mushroom farming industry had an average food safety output. The farms were implementing average to advanced HSMSs while they are operating in a moderate risk context. Insufficient performance areas in HSMSs noted included inadequate hazard analysis and analysis of control points, low specificity of pesticide assessment and inadequate control of suppliers and incoming materials. Recommendations to the industry and current short comings were suggested for realization of an improved industry wide food safety assurance system.