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COVID-19 Important Updates

AsureQuality COVID-19 Pandemic Plan and Actions Update #15

Laboratory Services:

All of our laboratories continue to operate effectively at pre-pandemic levels.

We are working hard to manage the challenges that the COVID-19 situation is presenting in order to continue to deliver testing services without material customer impacts.

Given the uncertainty of the situation, there may be some service interruptions to some testing in the future. We are focussed on minimising these wherever possible and keeping customers informed if significant issues develop.

Providing the best forward view of your demand and ensuring that all samples are pre-registered with complete registration information will help us to continue to operate effectively.

Audit, Inspection And Certification Services:

With all of New Zealand shifting to Level 2, below is a summary of the most up to date status of all our key programme areas.

Dairy RMP and RCS Operator Audits

  • At Alert Level 2, MPI require audits to be on-site. There may be some circumstances where an off-site audit is allowed with MPI approval.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: RA@asurequality.com

Farm Dairy Assessments

  • At Alert Level 2, on-farm activities continue following appropriate COVID-19 guidelines for risk assessment, social distancing, PPE, and hygiene.
  • AsureQuality are currently operating under guidance from MPI including minimising time on farm, minimising the requirement for the farmer to be present, and gathering evidence to enable the completion of the records/ procedure’s components off-site.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact your Key Account Manager, or our Customer Services Team: customerservices@asurequality.com

Farm Assurance Audits

  • At Alert Level 2, on-site audits continue following appropriate COVID-19 guidelines for risk assessment, social distancing, PPE, and hygiene.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact your Key Account Manager, or our Customer Services Team: customerservices@asurequality.com

Food Act

  • At Alert Level 2, MPI require audits to be conducted off-site except where:
  1. The audit is an evaluation, or initial verification.
  2. The audit is a follow-up to a critical non-compliance.
  3. The audit is integrated with a private standard audit that supports product export.
  • Aged care facilities are considered Level 4. Audits of these premises must be conducted off-site.
  • For further information, please contact: food@asurequality.com, or gap@asurequality.com for any GAP-related queries.

Third Party Schemes

  • Includes BRCGS, SQF, FSSC, WWSEP, GlobalGAP and various other programmes.
  • On-site audits continue where agreed by both parties and is the preference for WWSEP.
  • In some circumstances, BRCGS, SQF, GlobalGAP and FSSC are allowing hybrid audits, where some elements can be assessed off-site with the remainder reviewed on-site at an agreed later date.
  • Food Act verification can be integrated into third-party audits.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: TC@asurequality.com, or gap@asurequality.com for any GAP related queries.

NZGAP Audits

  • At Alert Level 2, MPI require audits to be on-site. There may be some circumstances where an off-site audit is allowed with MPI approval.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: gallagher@asurequality.com

Plant Exports (IVA)

  • At Alert Level 2, MPI require audits to be on-site. There may be some circumstances where an off-site audit is allowed with MPI approval.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: iva@asurequality.com

Apiary RMP

  • At Alert Level 2, MPI require audits to be on-site. There may be some circumstances where an off-site audit is allowed with MPI approval.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: taylor@asurequality.com

Management Systems Audits

  • For Quality Management Systems (QMS) and Environmental Systems (EMS), on-site audits continue where agreed by both parties.
  • Off-site audits can be accommodated in specific circumstances.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: tc@asurequality.com

Organics Programmes

  • On-site audits continue.
  • In some instances, off-site audits can be conducted with a follow up on-site assessment at a later agreed date.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: organics@asurequality.com

Live Animal and Germplasm Verification

  • Live Animal export verification continue following appropriate COVID-19 guidelines for risk assessment, social distancing, PPE, and hygiene.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: exports@asurequality.com

Halal Audits

  • NZIDT are continuing to conduct on-site audits. Where this is not appropriate off-site audits can be considered.
  • On-site audits are required for initial certification, or significant amendments to programmes.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: halal@nzidt.co.nz

Training

The AsureQuality Academy continues to deliver classroom-based training.

A number of courses are also available using Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) via Zoom, including:

For further information, please look online (external link) , or contact training@asurequality.com

If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to reach your usual point of contact within AsureQuality or contact info@asurequality.com


14 August: AsureQuality COVID-19 Pandemic Plan and Actions Update #14

Laboratory Services:

All of our laboratories continue to operate effectively at pre-pandemic levels and are delivering testing services without material customer impacts.

Providing the best forward view of your demand and ensuring that all samples are pre-registered with complete registration information will help us to continue to operate effectively.

Audit, Inspection and Certification Services:

For all our key programmes traditionally delivered via on-site activities we have:

  • adjusted schedules to minimise auditor travel wherever possible
  • re-implemented a standardised pre-visit checklist and safe practice guide for our teams which align with guidelines and recommendations from the Ministry of Health which include:
    • instructions on maintaining appropriate social distance
    • adoption of safe greeting practices
    • PPE protocols
    • good hygiene practices
    • contact tracing

Below is a summary of the most up-to-date status of all our key programme areas.

Dairy RMP and RCS Operator Audits:

  • At Alert Level 2, MPI require on-site audits to continue. There are some circumstances where a remote assessment is allowed.
  • At Alert Level 3, MPI require audits to be conducted off-site except where there is a valid reason not to do so.
  • Transition periods are expected to accommodate for logistical matters.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: RA@asurequality.com

Farm Dairy Assessments:

  • At Alert Level 2, on-farm activities continue with appropriate social distancing and following guidelines for PPE and hygiene.
  • We are currently operating under guidance from MPI including minimising time on farm, minimising the requirement for the farmer to be present, and gathering evidence to enable the completion of the records/ procedures components off-site.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact your Key Account Manager, or our Customer Services Team: customerservices@asurequality.com  

Farm Assurance Audits:

  • At Alert Level 2, on-site audits continue with appropriate social distancing and following COVID-19 guidelines for PPE and hygiene.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact your Key Account Manager, or our Customer Services Team: customerservices@asurequality.com

Food Act:

  • At Alert Level 2, MPI require audits to be conducted off-site except where:
  1. The audit is an evaluation or initial verification.
  2. The audit is a follow-up to a critical non-compliance.
  3. The audit is integrated with a private standard audit that supports product export.
  • Under Alert Level 3, MPI require audits to be conducted off-site. An on-site audit can occur if integrated with a private standard audit that supports product export. 
  • Aged care facilities are considered Level 4. Audits of these premises must be conducted off-site.
  • For further information, please contact food@asurequality.com, or gap@asurequality.com for any GAP-related queries.

 Third Party Schemes:

  • Including BRCGS, SQF, FSSC, WWSEP, GlobalGAP and various other programmes.
  • On-site audits continue where agreed by both parties and is the preference for WWSEP.
  • In some circumstances, BRCGS, SQF, GlobalGAP and FSSC are allowing hybrid audits, where some elements can be assessed off-site, with the remainder reviewed on-site at an agreed later date.
  • Food Act verification can be integrated into third-party audits.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact TC@asurequality.com, or gap@asurequality.com for any GAP related queries.

NZGAP Audits

  • At Alert Level 2, on-site Food Act verifications can be conducted together with NZGAP audits, unless it requires the auditor to transit through a higher-level region.
  • At Alert Level 3, MPI are allowing off-site checks and off-site Food Act verifications to be conducted together with NZGAP audits, unless it is an initial (1st time) NZGAP audit in which case it must be postponed.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact matt.gallagher@asurequality.com

Plant Exports (IVA)

  • At Alert Level 2, MPI require on-site audits to continue, unless it requires the auditor to transit through a higher-level region.
  • At Alert Level 3, MPI will allow off-site auditing.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact iva@asurequality.com

Apiary RMP:

  • At Alert Level 2, MPI require on-site audits to continue, unless it requires the auditor to transit through a higher-level region.
  • At Alert Level 3, MPI will allow off-site auditing.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact byron.taylor@asurequality.com

Management Systems Audits:

  • For Quality Management Systems (QMS) and Environmental Systems (EMS), on-site audits continue where agreed by both parties.
  • Off-site audits can be accommodated in specific circumstances.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: tc@asurequality.com

Organics Programme:

  • On-site audits continue
  • In some instances, off-site audits can be conducted with a follow up on-site assessment at a later agreed date
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: organics@asurequality.com

Halal Audits:

  • NZIDT are continuing to conduct on-site audits. Where this is not appropriate off-site audits can be considered.
  • On-site audits are required for initial certification, or significant amendments to programmes.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact halal@nzidt.co.nz

Training Services:

The AsureQuality Academy continues to deliver classroom-based training. A number of courses are also available using Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) via Zoom, including:

For further information, please look online or contact training@asurequality.com


We will be continuously monitoring the situation as it evolves and will adjust our plans and actions accordingly. We will be in direct communication again if we believe there are material changes.

If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to reach your usual point of contact within AsureQuality or contact info@asurequality.com 


12 August: AsureQuality COVID-19 Pandemic Plan and Actions Update #13

Essential Service Status:

As per the previous lockdown, the services AsureQuality deliver to the food and primary industries are considered essential services. This means we need to continue to operate during Alert Level 3 in Auckland and Alert Level 2 for the rest of New Zealand. Our planning is well advanced to ensure we are able to do this.

Continuity Of Service:

Currently, we anticipate no material service constraints. We will work closely with customers as needed to ensure we are able to maintain supply of essential services.

We are aware that if the raised Alert Levels progress there may be some potential impacts on people resource availability across certain service delivery areas. We are working hard to understand any potential gaps and will work directly with customers on solution options as needed.

Business Continuity Plans:

AsureQuality is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for people and to ensure business continuity in service of our customers, partners, and other stakeholders.

Following the Government announcements late last night, we are taking measures to protect people’s health and ensure we are able to continue to deliver essential services to customers.

AsureQuality have re-enacted our Business Continuity Plans (BCP) specifically for COVID-19, with close reference to the New Zealand Ministry of Health’s Pandemic Plan.

Here is an overview of our current plans, actions, and status:

Audit, Inspection and Certification Services:

All our people who can work from home will be doing so for at least the next three days.

All of our programmes will revert to the plans and practices we previously had in place for Alert Level 3 including social distancing, strict hygiene protocols, and contact tracing. In addition, we have included clear guidelines for masks.

Our people will continue to travel domestically in order to deliver essential services to customers. Every Government recommendation and guideline is being followed to minimise the risks to our people and customers as we do this.

We are reviewing all activities scheduled in the coming week in the Auckland region and will be in direct contact with customers to align on an agreed plan to complete these activities.

As before, our first preference remains to complete required audit activity according to schedule, however, where this is not feasible, we are committed to being as flexible and supportive as possible.

If needed, we are well prepared to revert to the alternative audit delivery models previously established and delivered during Alert Level 4.

Laboratory Services:

All our people who can work from home will be doing so for at least the next three days.

All of our laboratories will revert to the plans and practices we previously had in place for Alert Level 3 including split shifts, social distancing, strict hygiene protocols and contact tracing. In addition, we have included clear guidelines for masks.

All of our laboratories continue to deliver testing with no material impacts to service.

We will be continuously monitoring the situation as it evolves and will adjust our plans and actions accordingly. We will be in direct communication again if we believe there are material changes.

If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me, or your usual point of contact within AsureQuality.