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"User friendly language with simple tools for growers to use"
Belinda Hazell, Freshcare Chair explained: “Freshcare is one of the four base standards recognised under the Harmonised Australian Retailer Produce Scheme HARPS”.
In order to be approved as a base scheme for HARPS, Freshcare has moved from a private certification to an accredited certification and subsequently, has applied to be benchmarked to the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).
Belinda says Freshcare is also working with GLOBALG.A.P. to benchmark the Freshcare standard to the Internationally recognised GLOBALG.A.P. Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) standard. An Australian grower who wants to comply with export market requirements will be able to build on their existing Freshcare certification to achieve the broader GLOBALG.A.P. benchmarked by Freshcare-PLUS.
Belinda explained, “Freshcare has been written for growers in a user friendly language and with simple tools in place for growers to use. So bolting on the GLOBALG.A.P. component on to the existing Freshcare standard will help the grower meet international market requirements in a logical, stepped approach."
Belinda is the Principal Consultant at Optimum Standard, which commenced in 2003. She says overcoming cultural and learning barriers has been among the major challenges for the industry, but her background in farming has helped her relate to the clients.
"It has helped a lot because you know the language to speak," she said. "It's not coming from outside the sector. As we have a background in the sector, we can quickly pinpoint where we need to go and what tools we need. They don't want something that's overly complicated. They want something that makes sense that they can use and is user friendly, and they can train their people in."
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