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Increasing pressure on food industry to supply Australians in need

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Several issues impacting the Australian food industry will be in focus at the 20th Australian HACCP Conference hosted by leading training and assurance provider, SAI Global in August.

Each year the HACCP Conference attracts delegates involved in the development, implementation and maintenance of food safety programs. The 2013 conference will address current issues such as regulatory change, international policy implementation, food-borne illness outbreaks and technology developments.

Greg Warren, General Manager of Australia’s largest hunger-relief organisation, Foodbank will address various issues concerning food safety and security at the HACCP Conference. The majority of the country’s charities and welfare groups have experienced an increase in the number of Australians in need of food assistance, putting pressure on the food industry to provide supplies.

Greg will highlight the issue of food insecurity in Australia, the increasing demand for food donations, and how Foodbank operates the delivery of safe food to those in need.

In a Foodbank survey of over 700 welfare groups and their agencies, almost 70% stated they have seen an increase in the number of Australians in need of food assistance. Of those agencies, 25% reported a 15+% increase in demand for food donations over a 12-month period, with 10% of agencies experiencing an increase greater than 30%.

Major contributing factors to the crisis include:

Economic growth

In the last two decades, the net wealth of the poorest 20% of households increased by 4%, compared with a 28% increase across Australia.

Rising cost of living

Cost of living expenses continue to grow at a rate faster than the income of low-economic resource households.

Decreased industry surplus

There is limited surplus of food for donation, due to improved inventory control and planning methods within the food industry.

Welfare demand

Six in 10 agencies require at least 25% more food, with almost three in 10 agencies requiring double.

Speakers at the event will also include Major General John Hartley OA, CEO of Future Directions International, who will discuss Australia’s role in helping alleviate possible future world crises in the supply of safe and quality food; and Bill McBride, FoodLink Management Services MD (and SQF Institute chairman), who will provide an update on the work of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).

SAI Global would like to invite media interested in covering the event to attend at no cost.

The 20th Australian HACCP Conference will take place at Pier Docklands, Melbourne VIC on 27-29 August, 2013.

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