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The 90’s – Approved Supplier Guide

In response, a National Quality Management Working Group was established in 1998 by the Horticultural Research and Development Corporation (HRDC, now Horticulture Australia Limited, HAL) and the working group was given the task of sorting out the mess.

The outcome was the publication of an industry guidelines document called ‘Developing an Approved Supplier Program for Fresh Produce – A Guide for Customers and Suppliers’, which became known as the ‘Approved Supplier Guide’.

This guide provided practical information on the steps needed to establish an Approved Supplier Program, a list of key on-farm practices for controlling food safety risks and example record keeping solutions that might be used to implement the program.

Published in January 1999, the new guide was rapidly embraced by the fresh produce industry as there was now a consistent national reference document upon which commodities could develop their approved supplier programs.

Approved Supplier programs based on the guide were now becoming nationally consistent, but there remained the problem of checking that the on-farm practices in the guide were being followed.

Multiple customers still meant multiple audits for growers and a more practical approach to this issue was needed.

By early 1999, there was already a demand from many industry stakeholders to redesign the Approved Supplier Guide structure and contents so that it could become a “third-party auditable” Code of Practice, thereby eliminating the need for multiple audits.

Publication of the guide had provided the seed that, within the year, would grow to become Freshcare.

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