Dairysafe has developed a remote auditing system in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Food Standards and Accreditation Officer Craig Heard said industry response to new remote audits had been very positive.

“The dairy farms involved in the remote audit process have excelled. Records have been shared via mobile phones or email and overall it has been a really positive process,” Craig said.

Remote audits conducted during the April to July period demonstrated heightened awareness of personal practices and hygiene requirements, resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The majority of businesses – farmers, transporters and processors – have implemented additional measures as a result of the pandemic. Enhanced procedures, hygiene, cleaning and sanitation, increased social distancing and separation of staff have all been introduced,” Craig said.

Following successful testing of remote audits, a new Quality Management System is being developed by Dairysafe, which aims to improve the audit service delivery.

The new system will include a combination of face-to-face and remote audits. “Remote audits cannot fully replace face-to-face discussion and site visits, but can be used as an additional and valuable means of monitoring compliance in particular circumstances,” said Food Safety Officer Fiona Little.

The new system will also deliver improved audit reports to industry, with checklists to assist industry with continual improvement and managing expectations.

“And the system will also deliver improved data capture and analysis for Dairysafe to make informed business decisions and to feed information back to industry,” Fiona said.

The Quality Management System being developed will include a client portal, which will enable accredited businesses to log in and access their own details including certificates of accreditation and audit reports.