quality assurance COMPLIANCE CountdownAre you ready for the mandatory start date of HARPS Version 2 – here’s what you need to know. Words Joel Dinsdale, vegetablesWA quality assurance coordinator OUR industry is gearing up to complete the version shift – from one to two – as the mandatory start date for the Harmonised Australian Retailer Produce Scheme (HARPS) Version 2.0 approaches. The date? October 17 this year. The benefits? It’s promising better harmonised food safety, traceability and compliance standards across the industry. So what is HARPS Version 2.0? It is an enhanced iteration of the existing produce scheme that aims to bolster the safety and quality of fresh produce in the Australian market. Designed collaboratively by major retailers and industry stakeholders, this upgraded version provides Tier 1 and 2 suppliers with a unified and standardised approach to meet the requirements set by retailers. The objective of HARPS Version 2.0 is to ensure the highest standards of food safety and traceability. By mandating comprehensive safety measures and robust traceability frameworks, the system aims to prevent foodborne illnesses and bolster consumer confidence in the produce they purchase. Tier 1 and 2 suppliers will be required to adhere to guidelines in producing, handling and distributing fresh produce. With a focus on food safety and a commitment to traceability, suppliers will be better equipped to identify and rectify issues swiftly, preventing potential recalls and protecting both consumers and their own reputation. “ The objective of HARPS Version 2.0 is to ensure the highest standards of food safety and traceability The Final Countdown Tier 2 suppliers must prepare for HARPS Version 2.0. This includes thorough internal audits to assess current practices and identify any gaps in compliance to the new Standard. Additionally, suppliers should communicate with their Tier 1 supplier (and, in turn, retail partners) to ensure alignment with the new requirements and seek support where needed. If your next audit is due after the Tier 2 start date, you will need to be compliant to Version 2.0. If your next audit is prior to the date, you can audit against Version 1.0 or 2.0. Ensure you communicate this clearly in writing to your certification body prior to audit. Preparation Tools Freshcare has partnered with HARPS to produce a combined Internal Audit Template to support Tier 2 growers. For those businesses (Tier 1 and 2) that are operating both Freshcare and HARPS, this template is available for use. vegetablesWA has a copy of the template online (visit www. vegetableswa.com.au).MORE INFORMATION Joel Dinsdale 0417 857 675, joel. dinsdale@vegetableswa.com.au.