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New supermarket quality assurance scheme

Frustrated Australian growers threaten a boycott

With the implementation of the Harmonised Australian Retailer Produce Scheme (HARPS), a streamlined process for selling to multiple supermarket retailers should have been realised.

In fact, the process has been anything but harmonious; small to medium-sized family farming operations are reporting they have been pushed to the brink by unnecessary red tape and extra costs.

Some of the requirements (such as wearing beard nets, banning Stanley knives and even instructing workers not to bring peanut butter sandwiches for lunch) prompted some growers to threaten to boycott HARPS if changes were not made.

According to an article, Tristan Kitchner, who headed up the project team, said the industry and major retailers were willing to work with growers to find a way forward but it was important to not lose sight of the benefits. "It's about a culturally embedded process within the business whereby food safety flows through every aspect of the business.

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