Be food-safety ready
27 July 2018
Growers and packers should complete their food safety certification by the end of the year, said Citrus Australia’s Market Development Project Officer Nicole Zerveas.
Nicole explained that growers must be certified to a HARPS approved base scheme by 1 Jan 2019. HARPS is a retailer-led scheme designed to assist with compliance to food safety, legal and trade legislation for suppliers to the major grocery retailers in Australia.
“If your business supplies bulk produce (i.e. a grower) for further packing to a business that puts your produce into a final package (i.e. a pack house), you are required to be certified to a HARPS approved base scheme by 1 Jan 2019,” said Nicole.
HARPS approved food safety base schemes are BRC, Freshcare, Gobal Gap or SQF.
“If you are currently certified to one of these schemes you are required to continue certification,” said Nicole. “If you are not currently certified to one of these base schemes, you are required to be certified by 1 Jan 2019.”
Nicole added that, for Freshcare certification, at least one person in your business is required to complete Freshcare training.
“There are various ways to complete this training, group courses, one-on-one or online at www.freshcare.com.au,” said Nicole.
“Once the training has been completed, the food safety and quality program has been implemented within your business, records have been established, and other training such as chemical users training has been completed, you can prepare for a third-party audit to verify compliance.
“Freshcare audits are required to be completed during the harvest period. Your auditor will not want to conduct an audit when your crops have already been harvested. You may not be able to be certified by 1 Jan 2019 if you leave booking the audit too late.”
To schedule a Freshcare audit, contact a Freshcare approved certification body. Please go to www.freshcare.com.au for details on approved certification bodies.
Both Nicole and Citrus Australia’s Mara Milner are Freshcare trainers.
Freshcare training and follow-up
Citrus Australia offers a half-day group Freshcare Food Safety & Quality edition 4 (FSQ4) training session. Groups are limited to approximately 10 people to ensure participants have ample opportunity to ask questions and participate in group discussions.
Freshcare FSQ4 training ensures each participant has a full understanding of the Code and program requirements; how they are applicable to their business and how to prepare for their audit. A Freshcare manual with comprehensive information is given to each participating business in the training.
“Citrus Australia also offers on-site post training follow up/support for each participating business at no extra cost,” added Nicole. “This follow up 1-hour session is designed to address any questions regarding the program, forms or records and to allow the trainer to assess any gaps in audit preparation.
“We also encourage participating businesses to email or phone us at anytime for support.”
She added that the better the audit preparation, the less time the auditor will take to collect evidence of compliance. This is especially important if the auditor charges by time units.
Certification bodies are private businesses that will charge for audits according to their business framework, logistical limitations and auditor availability. It is advisable to obtain a quote before booking an audit.
Freshcare FSQ4 training is aimed at suppliers (such as growers or grower packers) of major Australian retail grocers who require certification to a HARPS approved base scheme
Freshcare FSQ4 training and Freshcare trainee follow up support sessions are coming to your area
Post training follow up/support 1 hour sessions can be provided by Nicole Zerveas and Mara Milner to trainee grower/packers on-site at no extra cost
Please contact Nicole Zerveas for Freshcare training and support session booking details
2 August: Freshcare training, Hanwood – FULLY BOOKED
8 August: Freshcare training, Mildura
9 August: Freshcare follow up support sessions, Mildura
22 August & 23 August: Freshcare follow up support, Riverland
23 August: Freshcare training, Waikerie
11 October: Freshcare training, Waikerie
10 & 11 October: Freshcare follow up support sessions, Riverland
14 November & 15 November: Freshcare follow up support sessions, Riverina
15 November: Freshcare training, Hanwood
Please contact Nicole Zerveas on 0499 044 111 or Nicole.firstname.lastname@example.org to book your Freshcare FSQ4 training.