2022-57 – Plant Export Reform Program – Recognition of food safety certification to streamline export audits

Date: 9th September 2022


This Industry Advice Notice (IAN) is to advise of changes being made to departmental audit requirements to allow for the recognition of food safety certification schemes.

Summary of changes and key points

  • From 1 October 2022, horticulture accredited property packhouses and/or registered establishments certified under a current food safety certification to an approved Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) scheme, may have a time reduction in departmental audits.
  • The following GFSI approved schemes will be recognised
    • GLOBALG.A.P.
    • Freshcare
    • British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Standard for Food Safety
    • Safe Quality Food (SQF)
  • Businesses with GFSI certification can use this as evidence in meeting some documentation requirements associated with pest control, hygiene and waste management activities.
  • Recognition of GFSI approved food safety certification at audit will only apply to properties and establishments registered for inspecting Fresh Fruit and Vegetable commodities.
  • Departmental auditors may elect to conduct a full audit if inadequate evidence of certification is provided or there is visual evidence of non-conformance with export regulatory requirements.
  • The following documents on the Plant Export Operations Manual will be updated to recognise food safety certification
    • Audit of plant export registered establishments
    • Audit of horticulture export accredited properties
    • Performance standards for packhouses
    • Performance standards for plant export registered establishments


We are pursuing a range of reform projects to modernise and streamline our agricultural export sector. This will enable our exporters to experience faster and more cost-effective services.

We are streamlining existing assurance measures by recognising where our requirements overlap with industry systems and by making more of our agricultural export services available online. These changes will deliver substantial time and cost benefits to industry and the government, while helping exporters get their goods to market faster.

We have identified areas of overlap in packhouses between food safety and quality assurance schemes and plant export regulatory requirements. Horticulture export audits can be streamlined to remove this overlap while maintaining strong assurance systems.

More information can be found on the website.

Accredited properties and registered establishment management responsibilities

  • To obtain recognition of overlapping areas, packhouse managers must provide evidence of current certification to a GFSI approved food safety and quality scheme or a certificate extension notice at the time of audit.
  • Areas where recognition applies are specified in the performance standards found on the Plant Export Operations Manual.

Contact information

If you have any questions regarding this IAN, please email congestionbustingplant@agriculture.gov.au

For further assistance please contact Jenny Van de Meeberg


0410 536 269

Berries Australia is a joint venture between the Australian Blueberry Growers Association, the Raspberry & Blackberry Association and Strawberries Australia Inc.