Dairysafe’s newest employee, Craig Heard, is passionate about working with farmers, transport companies and processors to lift the South Australian dairy industry to new levels of success.
Craig grew up in Crystal Brook in the mid north, in his parents’ abattoir and butcher shop, and spent 15 years with PIRSA in the food safety space. He was responsible for managing the audit program for food safety programs across a range of commodity sectors, including meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, shellfish and seed sprouts.
For the past three years Craig has managed PIRSA’s food safety audit team. Over that time he coordinated the local arrangements for a number of food recalls, including the mung bean salmonella outbreak in 2016, in which many consumers were hospitalised after eating packaged sprouts sold by a local producer.
“It was a horrible time,” Craig said. “I was the PIRSA coordinator between SA Health and the industry, trying to get the best outcomes for everyone concerned.
“It had a huge impact on the company caught up in the outbreak. They went out of business for three months and had to rebuild. It took a long time to regain the confidence of their customers.
“Recalls are never a nice situation. You rarely have any warning – generally you get the phone call when you’re least expecting it, and always at 4.30 on Friday afternoon. And then it’s all about managing the situation to reduce impact on everyone.”
Craig is looking forward to applying his food safety skills and experience to the dairy industry. “In recent years, my job has been mostly office based, and I’m really enjoying being back out in the industry, talking to farmers, transport companies and processors,” he said.
Craig has hit the ground running since his arrival at Dairysafe as its new Food Standards and Accreditation Officer, managing the annual return process, meeting dairy processors and joining Fiona Little on farm audits.
“I’m keen to learn and I’m working with some processors on production days to enhance my knowledge and relationships,” Craig said.
“An important part of my role is education, and I’m assessing what tools and resources the industry needs to get the best business outcomes. We’re here to help the SA dairy industry improve.”
Craig brings significant experience and skills to Dairysafe. He has:
- Managed the development and implementation of Biosecurity SA’s new Food Safety Program data and audit management system.
- Occupied the role of Biosecurity SA’s food safety incident manager for a number of significant incidents.
- Coordinated food recalls.
- Achieved the status of Exemplar global competency based National Food Safety Auditor Program Level 4 (NFSA-4) high risk auditor for all food commodities, manufacturing and production.
- Being jointly responsible for managing the process of transitioning certification of Biosecurity SA’s Food Safety Program management system to ISO 9001:2015.
- Participated in PIRSA’s Emerging Leadership Program – Diploma of Management.
- Been nominated for PIRSA’s Talent Development Program.
- Been recognised through PIRSA’s Achievement Award program – Food Safety Program, Excellence in Organisational Performance.
“Craig has excelled in achieving high standards within regulated commodity sectors, predominantly due to his collaborative approach, engagement skills and ability to positively influence business owners and operators,” said Dairysafe CEO Geoff Raven.
The Dairysafe team, working under the Dairysafe Board, now consists of CEO Geoff Raven, Accountant Rocco Galluccio, Food Safety Officer Fiona Little and Food Standards and Accreditation Officer Craig Heard.