The Freshcare Standards have helped build food safety culture within the Australian fresh produce industry since the launch of the Program in the year 2000.
Through the embedded continuous improvement cycle, promoting program ownership and management commitment, a focus on training and development of workers, and the application and implementation of the program across the whole business, the Freshcare Standards have been the driver for keeping food safety front-of-mind, for Australian businesses in the fresh produce supply chain.
A positive food safety culture is achieved within a business when there are shared values and a committed focus on delivering safe food. The top five ways Freshcare helps businesses achieve this is by:
- Promoting program ownership
- Management commitment
- Focusing on people
- Providing support resources
- Verification and continuous improvement
Promoting program ownership
Freshcare requires food safety program ownership by the participating business. Unlike other certification schemes, the Freshcare program ownership starts with training by a representative of the business. Freshcare food safety training covers the Standards’ requirements, GAP, and HACCP principles, to ensure an understanding of the practices required to identify, mitigate and manage food safety risks is gained, and the required records and evidence needed to be kept, to verify compliance.
A food safety and quality policy (previously commitment statement) must be established by each Freshcare participating business and must be communicated to all workers, to ensure an awareness throughout the business of the importance the business places on maintaining food safety and quality practices. All workers have a responsibility for the management of food safety and quality and are encouraged to monitor and report on activities associated with the Freshcare program.
Focusing on people
People are the fundamental key to successful fresh produce businesses. They are also the key to creating a positive food safety culture within each business. The Freshcare Standards have an element focused on ‘People’ and the role they have in managing risks and promoting food safety. Training of workers and briefing visitors in the food safety requirements and practices of the business helps to demonstrate the value the business places on food safety and emulates a positive food safety culture.
Providing support resources
In addition to the training providing a program support resource, Freshcare provides its participants with program resources and supporting guidance including worked examples, forms, risk assessments, and farm signage templates. Freshcare also provides technical support to industry via direct contact with the Freshcare office, T: 1300 853 508, E: [email protected]
Verification and continuous improvement
Food safety management within each business requires the continued application of the plan, do, check, act cycle of continuous improvement. Successful implementation and ongoing program management of the Freshcare Standard, will ensure awareness of food safety by all workers and embed food safety as part of the everyday practices of the business. Annual audits to achieve certification to the Freshcare program provide verification that the continuous improvement cycle and management of food safety are in place.
Download the Freshcare Food Safety Culture Factsheet: FSQ Factsheet – M1 Food safety culture 20210409