How our fish are harvested and the processes undertaken to prepare them for market directly impacts on the quality of the finished product.
Harvest pods at Hideaway Bay and a freshly-harvested Huon Salmon
Harvesting fish humanely is crucial to ensuring a high quality product as stress during the harvest process results in softer or gaping flesh.
In 2014, we worked closely with Baader Seafood Innovations to develop a method of harvesting that has since been rated world’s best practice and is RSPCA UK awarded. This collaboration led to world-first technology that uses automatic stunning and bleeding machines to harvest our salmon.
Our harvest machine works by utilising the salmon’s natural instincts to swim against the current. They then swim down a slide and are automatically stunned and bled.
An added benefit of this technology is that the pre-rigour time is longer (approximately eight to 12 hours), which is crucial to achieving the premium quality Huon Salmon our customers have come to expect.
Food safety and certifications
Across our processing sites, food safety is extremely important. This is why Huon holds a number of food-safety related certifications.
Huon’s Chef Series range and Inside Parramatta Creek
Huon has a thorough testing regime in place at our own processing facility at Parramatta Creek. This involves testing everything from the processing water right through to each product line to ensure that the displayed shelf-life dates are correct.
The frequency of our tests range from daily, monthly, six-monthly and annually. For example, we test for listeria in our waste-water every six months and within the factory (before and during operation) on a weekly basis. In the event that a test picks up a result, immediate corrective action is taken by our Quality Assurance team.
Global G.A.P. is an internationally recognised standard for farm production. Unlike some other ‘accreditations’ or ‘standards’, Global G.A.P isn’t a marketing partnership, rather it presents an opportunity for the facilitation of ongoing, continuous improvement. In 2012, Huon became the first Australian salmon producer to achieve this internationally recognised accreditation; a pre-farm gate standard that covers the whole production process of the certified product from the hatchery until the point of harvest and packing.
To this day, Huon has maintained this standard. To achieve this, continuous improvements have been made across the entire business in addition to numerous third-party audits, and site assessments. In 2019, an independent auditor spent two weeks undertaking visits to 18 Huon sites, assessing our operations against more than 200 compliance criteria. Continually meeting and exceeding these criteria would not be possible if it weren’t for the hard work and innovation of our employees.
Huon has also achieved an “A” Rated accreditation by the British Retail Consortium (BRC Global Standard for Food Safety) for Parramatta Creek—the nation’s only salmon processor to achieve it.
The BRC Global Standards are a suite of four industry-leading Technical Standards that specify requirements to be met by an organisation to enable the production, packaging, storage and distribution of safe food and consumer products.
BRC is a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) scheme and is a leading brand and consumer protection organisation, used by over 25,000 certificated suppliers over 130 countries, with certification issued through a global network of accredited certification bodies. BRC Global Standards’ guarantee the standardisation of quality, food safety and operational criteria and ensure that manufacturers fulfil their legal obligations and provide protection for the end consumer. BRC Global Standards are now often a fundamental requirement of leading retailers, manufacturers and food service organisations.
Huon is HACCP certified (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points). Safe food production is achieved by applying HACCP techniques to ensure that potential hazards during the process are recognised, monitored and controlled while Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) also undertake a regular inspection and certification process for our products sold overseas.
Parramatta Creek, TAS
All of the fish that Huon farms is processed at a single facility at Parramatta Creek (PMC) in the north west of Tasmania, which makes food safety variables easier to control. From here, whole fish, fillets or valued-added products are dispatched for sale while HOG and fillets are sent to our Ingleburn factory in Sydney for further value-adding and dispatch to customers along the eastern seaboard.
Parramatta Creek processing facility and Huon Salmon skewers
PMC was designed, built and is managed with a strong focus on food safety which is why we hold British Retail Consortium AA rating (and have done so since 2016). We are the only seafood processing facility in Australia to achieve this rating which is a testament of our focus on food safety and continuous improvement.
We also have an on-site Quality Assurance team who work tirelessly to audit and conduct daily onsite testings to continually improve our processes and as a result, we have not had a single product recall since processing operations commenced in Tasmania.
PMC is also independently audited multiple times per year (by external auditors) to comply with our certification requirements and to ensure excellence when it comes to food safety.
Opening in early 2019, Huon’s Ingleburn processing facility creates value-added, MAP (modified atmosphere packaging) and frozen lines for major retailers. Replacing our Botany Bay facility, Ingleburn is custom designed to meet Huon’s growing processing specifications, increasing our NSW production workforce from 25 to 70.
Inside Ingleburn and Huon Salmon carpaccio
Boasting three production rooms, Ingleburn’s tailored design and convenient located allows Huon to process high volumes of convenient, consumer-ready products for our major retail customers.
Strategically located on the eastern seaboard, Ingleburn enables Huon to quickly produce and ship our bespoke product lines directly to our customers, ensuring consumers receive the freshest salmon products available in the market.
Similar to PMC, Ingleburn was designed and is proactively managed with a strong focus on food safety and biosecurity. The site is independently audited multiple times per year (by external auditors) to comply with our certification requirements and to ensure our high standards of food safety continue to exceed expectations.
Huon’s valued-added processing facility in Forrestdale, Western Australia opened its doors in November 2020. The addition of this facility has allowed Huon to provide the Western Australian retail market with fresher value-added products with longer shelf life, benefiting both our WA retailers and consumers.
An outside and aerial view of Huon’s Forrestdale processing facility in WA
The Forrestdale site has been fitted out with specialised equipment similar to its sister facility, Huon’s valued-added processing facility in Ingleburn, New South Wales.
In addition to creating 25 local jobs, Huon has a long-term plan is to install a second processing line in the facility, which will allow for multiple species to be processed using state-of-the-art equipment. This will provide another stepping stone towards farming Yellowtail Kingfish in the state.
In line with our biosecurity plan, Forrestdale was designed with a strong focus on food safety and biosecurity. The site will be independently audited multiple times per year (by external auditors) to comply with our certification requirements and to ensure our high standards of food safety continue to exceed expectations.