For dairy company Gelista, Dairysafe’s Food Safety Training Project is an important step in professionalising the South Australian industry.

Gelista Founder and Managing Director Peter Cox says finding skilled staff and ensuring staff are adequately trained to deliver excellence is vital to business success.

Gelista founder Peter Cox.

“The capability and skill level of our staff is important intellectual property and forms the foundation of our competitive advantage and overall business strategy,” he said.

“I’m pleased to see Dairysafe is undertaking this project, which will encourage continuous improvement and innovation in our industry.”

Gelista, an artisan manufacturer of premium gelato and ice cream based in Ridleyton, was established in 2009 and has a team of 11. The Gelista brand is rapidly gaining recognition as a leading brand of luxury gelato in Australia.

Peter said it was critical for the SA dairy industry to look at national and international sales opportunities and ensure it has the businesses, skills and products to capitalise on those opportunities.

“By 2050, there will be about a billion more mouths to feed globally and most of these people will be in Asia. How are we going to work together to capitalise on this opportunity? The industry needs to work backwards from here to work out what training is required,” he said.

Peter also would like to see more training focused on setting up quality assurance (QA) systems.

“We will be upgrading our QA and food safety systems over the next few years. More training in setting up a HACCP QA system would be helpful for us,” he said. “Our current certification requires QA staff to undertake a refresher course on a regular basis and this could be a good place to start.”

Gelista is an artisan manufacturer of premium gelato and ice cream.

Peter also thinks dairy businesses in SA would benefit from marketing training. “We need to get better at defining what makes us unique. And we need to focus on innovation to ensure we are unique.”

Dairysafe CEO Geoff Raven said the Food Safety Training Project is examining training gaps for dairy businesses, both large-scale and artisan.

“While we don’t know what the outcomes of this project will be yet, we know there are skills gaps in the industry that need to be addressed,” Geoff said.

“We want to create a culture in our industry of going above and beyond, of seeking to continually improve practices.”

In the meantime, Dairysafe’s new ‘Guidelines for the safe manufacture of dairy products’, is a terrific resource for dairy manufacturers. The resource is now being printed and will be posted to every processor in SA.

And a new e-course ‘Food Safety Programs – Guidelines for dairy manufacturers’ is currently being developed by Dairy Australia with the assistance of State dairy food safety regulators, in particular Queensland Safe Food.

“In combination with our new Guideline document, this will be a terrific resource for dairy manufacturers setting up or reviewing their HACCP-based food safety programs,” Geoff said.