Australian growers are set to save on certification costs after Freshcare announced it will standardise its requirements to the internationally recognised Globalgap standard.
“Freshcare is the most widely adopted food safety standard in the Australian fresh produce sector, with over 5,000 participating horticulture businesses using the standard to meet domestic market requirements,” Freshcare executive officer Clare Hamilton-Bate said. “However, the Freshcare standard is not widely recognised in export markets.
“Benchmarking the Freshcare standard against Globalgap will allow these Australian producers to achieve regulatory and retailer compliance in export markets through an extension to their existing Freshcare certification.”
The benchmark process is expected to be completed mid-2017, with the initiative being delivered by grower-owned body Horticulture Innovation Australia in partnership with industry body Ausveg, using vegetable indsutry levy funds and Australian government funding.
Horticulture Innovation Australia CEO John Lloyd said Australian exporters already had to comply with Globalgap standards to for markets including the Middle East and Asia, as well as meet local food safety certifications to supply the domestic market, meaning this new initiative would increase efficiencies and increase cost savings for Australian exporters.
“Australian produce has a strong international reputation for being fresh, clean and safe, and as the horticulture industry looks to increase its presence in overseas markets, it’s vital that this reputation is backed up by an internationally recognised certification," he said.
“Evolving food safety demands could represent a barrier to trade for Australian vegetable and potato exports, and benchmarking Freshcare against the Globalgap standard will help keep overseas markets open to Australian growers,” Ausveg CEO Simon Bolles added. “We hope to see this project pay real dividends into the future – not just for our vegetable and potato growers, but for the entire horticulture sector.”