In 2012 Horticulture Australia Ltd initiated a project to harmonise food safety certification requirements for the major retailers in Australia. The result of this project is the Harmonised Australian Retailer Produce Scheme (HARPS).
Established with the goal of providing a more practical and comprehensive approach, HARPS has the ability to streamline the amount of work undertaken during the audit process. While the amount will differ between businesses, for those currently audited to multiple schemes for multiple customers, one base scheme plus HARPS means the audit duration will reduce, hence overall audit costs should also reduce.
HARPS is officially live! Since the launch of HARPS in October 2016, more than 700 suppliers have become HARPS approved.
Registration is now open for all direct supply businesses supplying whole fruit, whole veg or nuts in shell to Australia’s major retailers. Registration is available right here on our HARPS Online site. You have until 30 June 2018 to complete your registration. HARPS is also optional for suppliers based in New Zealand.
DO I NEED HARPS? Your businesses scope or activities will determine whether you may be required to gain HARPS approval. Direct suppliers (i.e. growers or grower-packers of product into final retail packaging), wholesalers, agent or suppliers of ancillary services (i.e. ripening, storage and cooling) may also require HARPS approval.
The simplest way to be sure a HARPS audit is required is to ask relevant people within your supply chain. For growers this means asking your customers or buyers. A good question to ask is whether your business is listed as an approved supplier to one or more of the HARPS participating retailers. If it is, your business may require HARPS.
Some businesses may now need to undergo HARPS approval even though they had not considered themselves direct suppliers in the past. It is important to note that HARPS audits are typically conducted at the same time as a base scheme audit. If a business already has a base scheme booked for 2018, HARPS can be added.