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Food Safety & Quality – On-Farm

The Freshcare Food Safety & Quality program outlines specific practices that must be implemented and maintained to assure continuous food safety and quality requirements are being met on-farm by growers and grower packers.

The current Freshcare Food Safety & Quality Standards are referred to as FSQ4.1 and FSQ4.2.

FSQ4.1 and FSQ4.2

FSQ4.1 and FSQ4.2 are accredited standards in accordance with the requirements of ISO17065.

The Freshcare Food Safety & Quality Standard – Edition 4.1 (FSQ4.1) was released 1 July 2019.

The Freshcare Food Safety & Quality Standard – Edition 4.2 (FSQ4.2) was released 9 November 2020.

As part of our GFSI benchmark process, FSQ4.1 has been updated to FSQ4.2 and released in November 2020.

Businesses are required to transition from FSQ4.1 to FSQ4.2 for all audits from 3 May 2021. 

More information on the release and requirements of the FSQ4.2 Standard can be found here.

Requirements for certification

Training

It is a requirement that all businesses participating in the Freshcare Food Safety & Quality program, have at least one business representative complete training.

Freshcare training ensures each participating business has a full understanding of the Standard and program requirements; how they are applicable to their business and what needs to be implemented and prepared to demonstrate compliance at audit.

Freshcare training options include: group courses, one-on-one, and online (eLearning).

Details of training options and providers can be found here: Freshcare Training.

Implementation

Freshcare training prepares participants with information on how to integrate the Food Safety & Quality program requirements into their business production and operating systems to ensure the food safety and quality management of produce grown and handled.

Training course materials include template record keeping documents and resource materials to provide assistance and further information.

Some elements of the Food Safety & Quality Standard require verification testing to be completed. It is recommended that all verification testing be undertaken prior to external audits.

External Audit

Once the Food Safety & Quality program has been implemented within your business, and required records have been established, you can prepare for an external audit to verify compliance.

External audits to the Freshcare Food Safety & Quality Standard are required to be undertaken during your harvest/operational period, as it is essential that the auditor has access to all facets of business operations.

To become Freshcare certified you must first successfully complete and pass your external audit.

To schedule a Food Safety & Quality audit, contact a Freshcare approved Certification Body.

Combined Audits
All Freshcare Certification Bodies have auditors who are able to audit across a number of industry standards (not just Freshcare). Therefore you may be able to schedule your Freshcare audit in conjunction with other industry standards/on-farm management programs as required. To organise a combined audit you must advise the Certification Body at the time of booking.

The various Freshcare Standards have been developed for ease of integration and combined certification audits. Therefore if you are participating in more than one Freshcare program such as Food Safety & Quality and Environmental, please advise the Certification Body when booking your audit to ensure a suitably qualified auditor is scheduled.

Maintaining Certification

Once you have successfully completed an audit and resolved any corrective actions raised, a Freshcare certificate will be issued via your Certification Body.

A copy of your certificate is also available via your logon to FreshcareOnline

For promotional purposes, Freshcare certified businesses can utilise the Freshcare Food Safety & Quality certification logo. For more information, access, and rules for use of the certification logo visit the logo permission request page.

To maintain certification to the Freshcare Food Safety & Quality Standard, annual audits are required to be successfully undertaken during your harvest season.