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FAQ

New Enquiries

Who accepts Freshcare?

FSQ – Freshcare FSQ is a HACCP-based Food Safety & Quality Program widely accepted by customers in all industry sectors including retail, processing and food service. Freshcare FSQ is approved for use by growers and grower-packers supplying ‘direct’ to both Coles (Coles direct supplier requirements also apply) and Metcash. Direct suppliers to Woolworths are required to be certified to Woolworths Quality Assurance (WQA), Freshcare is approved for indirect supply to Woolworths.

ENV – Freshcare ENV is an Environmental Program specifically designed to be an ‘implementation ready’ tool for growers to assist them in achieving environmental objectives and outcomes consistent with those sought through the ISO 14001 environmental management process. Freshcare ENV is widely recognised by industry and is an approved program under the voluntary Coles environmental programme.

VIT & WIN – The Freshcare Environmental Viticulture (VIT) and Winery (WIN) Programs were specifically developed for the Australian wine industry to meet the requirements of Entwine Australia. Freshcare VIT & WIN are recognised standards underpinning the Entwine program.
Entwine Australia is a voluntary national environmental scheme available to all Australian wine companies and grape growers, managed by Winemakers’ Federation of Australia. Further information on Entwine can be found at www.wfa.org.au/entwineaustralia

Will the Freshcare Program change the way I do things on my farm?

When implementing the Freshcare program you will likely find you are already keeping many of the records required as a part of running your business. Freshcare training helps new businesses identify the risk areas that need to be managed when implementing the Freshcare Codes of Practice. There may be some physical changes to be made and additional records to be kept although these will be covered at training to ensure you address them in the most practical way for your property.

If I move from another program to Freshcare, do I have to do training?

Yes. Regardless of previous training completed and irrespective of which Freshcare Program you would like to undertake, it is a requirement that all new participating businesses complete a Freshcare training course. This is to ensure consistency in delivery of Code and Program requirements.

What are my options for Freshcare training and are there varying costs?

FSQ Training

  • One-on-one
  • Group
  • Online (to be available late 2015, cost to be provided on launch)

Costs of training is established by the Freshcare trainer. Freshcare trainers operate their own businesses independently of Freshcare. Training costs will vary between one-on-one and group training; along with other factors such as location; number of participants; training materials and travel; which Freshcare trainers incorporate into their training fee visit Trainers to access trainer contact details.

ENV, VIT and WIN Training

  • One-on-one
  • Group

Costs of training is established by the Freshcare trainer. Freshcare trainers operate their own businesses independently of Freshcare. Training costs will vary between one-on-one and group training; along with other factors such as location; number of participants; training materials and travel; which Freshcare trainers incorporate into their training fee visit Trainers to access trainer contact details.

How long does it take to achieve certification to Freshcare?

For most growers it takes 3 – 6 months to undertake training, implement practices, establish records and achieve certification. Freshcare does not put a time frame on achieving certification, rather growers are advised to progress to audit once the program is fully implemented on their property.

How long does certification last?

FSQ and ENV certificates are valid for 13 months from the date of audit. Subsequent annual audits should be scheduled to allow the audit to be reported and processed prior to the expiry date.

VIT and WIN certificates are valid for 3 years from the date of audit as these programs are audited on a triennial cycle.

What are the ongoing costs for maintaining Freshcare Certification?

Annual costs comprise of the cost of audit, typically $450.00 – $650.00; and the annual Freshcare Certification Fee as tabled below:

Audit Cycle Code Certification Fee (inc GST)
Annual Audit Food Safety & Quality

Environmental

$102.30
Triennial Audit Environmental Viticulture

Environmental Winery

$204.60

The annual Freshcare Certification Fees paid by certified Freshcare businesses fund the operation of all aspects of the Freshcare program, we receive no other industry or government support.

For businesses certified to more than one Code of Practice, the certification fee for the second or subsequent code is charged at half price.

Costs of any testing required should also be considered in addition to the above costs.

General Program Enquiries

I had a CAR raised at audit, where do I find details of what needs to be provided to my auditor, and what timeframe do I have to get it to them?

The auditor that completed your Freshcare audit will leave you with (or provide within a few days) a copy of your audit report and details of any Corrective Action Records (CARs) raised during the audit. The CAR details should outline which element of the Code it is applicable to and what is required to complete the CAR closure. Evidence of CAR closure should be provided directly to the auditor, Certification Body, or contact outlined in the audit report.

Details of CARs raised at audited can be viewed via FreshcareOnline once the audit has be logged by the Certification Body.

CARs should be closed out (whenever possible) within 28 days. CARs outstanding for longer than 28days will place your Freshcare Certification status in pending and will hold up your Certificate.

I completed a Freshcare audit last week, when do I get my certificate?

Freshcare Certification Bodies have 10 business days to report a Freshcare audit. Certificates are issued within 10 business days from the date of audit to businesses that have successfully completed a Freshcare audit (no CARs raised or all CARs closed).

Freshcare certificates are emailed from the Certification Body and are also available for download online via FreshcareOnline.

I need to update my postal address and contact details, who should I notify?

FreshcareOnline provides Freshcare participating businesses with the ability to view and update their contact details. By logging into FreshcareOnline and updating your details you have notified all required contacts in one instance. Your online changes prompt a notification to Freshcare of the changes made. These changes are then forwarded to your Certification Body to ensure all contact information is correct, up to date and consistent.

Please Contact Us for assistance.

I have accessed FreshcareOnline previously but cannot remember my logon details, where can I find this information?

Your logon details to FreshcareOnline are sent out with the original welcome pack you receive once your business has been registered with Freshcare (either via your trainer or as an additional business).

Please Contact Us to have your logon details resent.

If you know your Logon ID, or have your Freshcare Certificate (Logon ID = last 4 digits of your certification number), you can have your password reset via the forgotten password option of the FreshcareOnline Logon.

Can I use the Freshcare logo on my boxes, packs or website / other promotional materials?

Only Freshcare certified businesses can utilise the Freshcare certification mark of the program they are certified to, such as FSQ or ENV. There are rules surrounding the use and application of Freshcare certification marks. If you are a Freshcare certified business interested in using the Freshcare certification mark, please Contact Us with your Certification number and intention for use of the logo.

I have an additional business that requires separate Freshcare Certification. How do I go about achieving Freshcare Certification this business and what are the costs?

If the second business is operating separately to the existing business registered with Freshcare, you will be required to register the additional business by completing an Additional Business Registration Form. Registering an additional business incurs a $55.00 registration fee (inc GST).

There is no training requirement for additional business registrations as it is ‘assumed’ the trained representative from the existing business will be managing the Freshcare Program for the additional business. If this is not the case, training of the person responsible for managing the Freshcare Program for the additional business is required.

Each additional business will be audited separately to obtain Freshcare Certification. A Freshcare Certification Fee is applicable to each individual business at the time of audit.

If you are unsure whether you are required to register your additional business, Contact Us for further assistance.

FSQ specific

What does Freshcare FSQ training cover?

Freshcare FSQ training introduces the key areas of food safety risk on-farm and allows you to apply these to your own situation. It provides guidelines on how to manage these risks and outlines the procedures, practices and record keeping required to demonstrate compliance with the Food Safety & Quality Code of Practice.

I grow various crops as specified in my scope for Freshcare FSQ Certification. Do I have to have a residue test completed for each crop type?

The Freshcare Food Safety & Quality Code of Practice requires each participating business to have an annual broad spectrum chemical residue test conducted by a NATA-accredited laboratory on one crop specified under their Freshcare scope.

Therefore multiple residue tests are not required for Freshcare FSQ Certification, just one crop test per year. It is however recommended that you alternate between crops when testing each year.

Please note that customer specific requirements may differ to Freshcare requirements and hence residue testing per crop type could be necessary for some customers.

I grow different varieties of mandarins, and my customer requires a residue test on each variety. I’m looking at arranging to have a composite residue test undertaken. Does Freshcare accept composite residue test results?

Freshcare does accept composite residue test results, providing the test is a broad spectrum screen and has been conducted by an appropriate NATA – accredited laboratory.

Composite residue testing is the testing of more than one product (of the same crop type), per residue test. Results are then distributed by the number of products included in the composite test. If a violation occurs on a composite test, individual product testing will then be required.

Please note that customer specific requirements may differ, and approval for composite testing may be required from individual customers.

What chemical users training course is acceptable for Freshcare?

Freshcare requires that the following national competencies be included in all chemical user training qualifications:

  • Level 3 – AHCCHM303A (previously RTC3704A) – Prepare and apply chemicals
  • Level 3 – AHCCHM304A (previously RTC3705A) – Transport, handle and store chemicals
  • Some examples of training course providers that deliver these competency units are AusChem Training, ChemCert Australia and SmartTrain.

    FSQ approved suppliers

    I am using ‘Total Testing Labs’ for my annual MRL test. The report they send to me shows that they are NATA accredited. Do I have to get a letter from them stating this?

    The requirement of a laboratory undertaking MRL tests is that they “hold NATA accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 for the specific testing requested and provide evidence of accreditation” (Freshcare specifications). Rather than adding them as an approved supplier, why not inspect the report each time it comes in to make sure they still hold current NATA accreditation? Sign the report to indicate that you have inspected it against the specification.

    I am using a transport company called ‘Trucks R Us’ and they say on their website they have a HACCP plan in place which allows them to transport produce for the supermarket chains. Can I assume they are no risk?

    No. Firstly, a HACCP plan does not necessarily mean that they meet Freshcare’s requirements. Secondly, there is nothing to say the HACCP plan is audited or even current!
    Get the transport company to sign a letter or statement addressing the Freshcare specifications for the provision of transport services.

    We are the main supplier of Ag chemicals and fertilisers in our area and have been asked by several clients to sign approved supplier letters for their Freshcare FSQ Program. The letter asks us to confirm if products contain or have been in contact with known allergens and a list of allergens is provided. We can’t provide this assurance as we are not the manufacturer of the products and also don’t know what they may have been in contact with during storage and distribution. How do we respond to our clients?

    This concern has been raised by many Freshcare members and their suppliers. We have amended the letters / specifications in consideration of this. The letters will still ask you to advise if you are aware that the product contains or has been in contact with known allergens. If you are not the manufacturer of the product and thus cannot provide an assurance of the allergen status, you should state this in your response.