A new Dairysafe project will boost the dairy industry’s food safety skills to ensure South Australian dairy processors remain at the pinnacle of best practice.

The State Government has contributed $65,000 to the project which was launched in September by Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone during a visit to Beston Global Food Company’s Jervois facility.

The project will involve a stocktake of existing skills and training within the dairy processing industry, will examine the skills and training gaps, and will consider training pathway options for dairy businesses, both large-scale and artisan. The aim is to identify gaps in or barriers to flexible and affordable training.

“Dairysafe will develop an analytical tool and value-driven training pathway for the dairy industry to boost food safety culture to ensure industry growth, market access and reputation,” said Minister Whetstone.

“The state’s clean and safe image is paramount when it comes to food products, especially for the dairy industry’s market access.

“South Australia already has an excellent record when it comes to food safety but the dairy industry is proactively seeking to be a leader in this area and encourage continuous improvement and innovation.”

Over the next 12 months, Dairysafe will work with peak South Australian food industry organisations such as the South Australian Dairy Association, DairySA, Food SA and registered training organisations to develop the program.

Dairysafe has commenced the training, skills and knowledge industry stocktake. “The aim is to complete the process by the end of January 2020,” said Dairysafe CEO Geoff Raven.

“After that we’ll complete a full analysis of the results which will inform where the gaps and opportunities exist in training, skills and knowledge within SA’s dairy manufacturing sector.”

Geoff said the project aimed to take food safety beyond compliance with standards.

“Inspections and audits are essential parts of the system but we want to create a culture in our industry of going above and beyond, of seeking to continually improve practices,” Geoff said.

“This program will look at the people as well as the processes, reviewing the attitudes, knowledge, skills and training of those in the industry.

“A strong food safety culture is underpinned by training and while it starts at the top it needs everyone’s support from across the business to become truly embedded.”