HARPS Newsletter December 2023 Edition

The 16th of October marked the final transition day from Version 1.0 to Version 2.0, with all suppliers, both Tier 1 and 2, now requiring an audit against the HARPS Version 2.0 Standard. If your business is yet to undergo a Version 2.0 audit, there is plenty of information and support available to assist you with your transition. Please read on for further information.

Also, in this edition of the HARPS newsletter, you’ll find information regarding the HARPS Survey. This is your opportunity to provide feedback on your experiences with the HARPS audit, and also provide any suggestions for improvements.

By way of reminder, we have implemented a new process for new suppliers to nominate a Certification Body (CB) and those changing CBs. HARPS now requires an online form to be completed.

Feel free to visit the HARPS website www.harpsonline.com.au or call the HARPS Helpline on 1300 852 219 for any queries.

HARPS management team changes:

After 8 years, Belinda Millard, General Manager (GM) of HARPS is embarking on a new chapter. Belinda helped with the development of the original HARPS scheme in 2016 and launched Version 2.0 in October 2022, as well as led the ongoing management of HARPS.

We’re now looking for a new GM who’s a creative thinker and can continue to support the development of HARPS and help foster positive industry change. It’s a diverse position (not an ordinary/typical compliance role) including, supporting growers via the HARPS Helpline, working collaboratively with retailers to deliver robust, yet pragmatic industry-focused enhancements for the Scheme, monitoring the performance of Certification Bodies and auditors, maintaining the HARPS database, website, and support tools, and engaging a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including regulators, Peak Industry Bodies and Scheme Owners. Plus more.

Moving forward HARPS is committed to refining and enhancing the existing standards, improving the audit experience for suppliers and fostering alignment among stakeholders to minimise food safety risks, thereby bolstering Australia’s food safety culture. If you, or anyone you know may be interested in finding out more, please reach out to either Belinda or myself. The role can be part or full-time and work from home.

Updates to HARPS Version 2.0

Element 13.3 Mushroom Growers are now exempt from this Element.

The AMGA (Australian Mushroom Growers Association) has requested HARPS to accept the mushroom substrate production process as a verified alternate treatment process to AS4454. This request has been approved by the HARPS Retailer Committee. From 4th December 2023, all mushroom growers audited against the HARPS Version 2.0 Standard are exempt from element 13.3.

Harps Treatment of Manure 2023

Element 14.10 Test Mass Rule for Scales Used to Weigh Bins of Produce.

On 20th December 2023, the HARPS Retailer Committee agreed to a blanket exemption for a 20kg test mass for platform scales used to weigh bins of produce. Therefore, the sentence “The mass of the test weight shall be at or slightly above the maximum weight to be measured for a product” no longer applies.

Harps Scale Calibration 2023 Dec

Information to assist you with your transition from HARPS Version 1.0 to 2.0

In addition to the Guidance embedded within the new standard, a range of supporting documentation and material has been developed. The following tools and training will be available to support your business transition to Version 2.0:

Below are messages from each of the HARPS-approved Training Providers:

Quality Associates Training:

Quality Associates Training (RTO 41341) is proud to continue our training partnership with HARPS into 2024, offering 3 convenient courses to meet your HACCP training requirements.

    • HACCP Foundation for HARPS – Nationally Recognised Training, Running Monthly, Trainer-Led, meets HARPS Element 4.1.

Next course – 31st January 2024

    • HARPS Version 2 Implementation with HACCP Refresher – Running Monthly, Trainer-Led,

HACCP Refresher is Nationally Recognised and meets HARPS Element 4.2.
Next course – 7th February 2024

    • HACCP Refresher for HARPS – Nationally Recognised Training. Hybrid self-paced online training with trainer-led tutorial training. Meets HARPS Element 4.2.

Here is what our participants think:

“I found this course very easy to follow and to understand. All points were discussed clearly and in ways which made it easy to follow and remember. Definitely recommend.” 5 Stars


Fresh Business Training

Fresh Business Training will be in NT to deliver HARPS Version 2 and HACCP Refresher training February 26th 2024 at NT Farmers Training Room. Please register here.

From now until the end of March, enrol two staff members in our HARPS Version 2 course and we will provide complimentary access to the course for another staff member.

We also have discounts available to support your company with your HACCP and HACCP Refresher training needs to meet HARPS Version 2 standard requirements.

We are also able to support your company with your HACCP and HACCP Refresher training needs to meet HARPS Version 2 standard requirements.

Further information is available on our website www.freshtraining.org or reach out to one of our friendly staff on 1300 637 374 and we will be able to assist you.
As always, you can contact us via the HARPS Website by filling in an enquiry form or contacting the HARPS Helpline.

The Document Library on the HARPS website has been updated with a host of new documents to help support your business transitioning to Version 2.0.

HARPS Changes Working Group

The HARPS Version 2.0 Changes Working Group has been developed to decide upon minor changes to the Version 2.0 HARPS Standard and Scheme Rules. These changes may have been recommended by current (or potential suppliers) audited against the HARPS Standard, or other industry members such as retailers, certification bodies and their auditors, peak industry bodies, etc. 

Change recommendations for review by this Group include those within the HARPS Version 2.0 Standard, the HARPS Version 2.0 Scheme Rules, and any associated technical documentation that supports the Standard and Scheme rules.

The Group is responsible for discussing and agreeing upon changes to the Version 2.0 Standard and Scheme Rules. Changes do not include fundamental variations such as changes to the HARPS Decision Graphic, the product, or the process scope.

The Group will be comprised of an equal number of retailers and H-TAG Members, no more than six in total, i.e., three Retailers and three H-TAG members, and One Direction ANZ Team member(s) to assist with secretariat functions, updates to the technical documents, updates to the HARPS website and industry communication.

Want to have your say? Complete the HARPS Survey!

Audit delivery, accuracy and consistency of auditors and the cost of auditing have been the subject of much debate and discussion since the release of the HARPS standard in 2016. To better understand industry sentiment relating to these concerns, the HARPS Retailer Committee agreed to conduct surveys, post-audit, aimed at establishing an improved understanding of the pain-points for HARPS client auditees.

Want to let us know about your experience with the HARPS audit? HARPS is running a survey to help us understand your views and experiences about HARPS and the audit process. For any business that has undergone an audit, a survey link is provided to you via email with a copy of the HARPS Certificate and the final audit report. Otherwise, click here to tell us your thoughts.

[NEW] Selecting a Certification Body for HARPS

If your business is undergoing a HARPS audit for the first time or is currently audited for HARPS and you’re looking to change from your current Certification Body to a new Certification Body, HARPS now requires that you complete an online form to make your selection. Previously you would be required to contact your new or previous Certification Body to make this change, however the process change will prevent Certification Bodies scheduling audits for clients that are no longer requiring their services.

Click here for further information and to complete an online form:

Accessing the online application forms:

1. Go to https://harpsonline.com.au
2. Move your mouse over “Growers & Suppliers” on the top menu.
3. Click on “Nominating a Certification Body”

4. If you are changing certification bodies, click “Existing HARPS Supplier”.
5. If you are new to the HARPS program, click “New HARPS Supplier”.
6. Fill in the form and click Submit.
7. If you require the form in a different language, see the instructions below for changing the language of the HARPS Online portal

If you prefer to complete the form in another language, there is now an option to have this form translated.

    • In the top-right-hand side of the screen, select the drop-down box that displays the Flag and the letters “EN”
    • Select the language you wish to display. The form will be automatically translated.
Changing the Language