15 May 2020

AsureQuality continues to operate during Alert Level 2 as we have done since the 26th March. Our planning has positioned us well do this.

We will be continuously monitoring the situation as it evolves and will adjust our plans and actions accordingly. We will be in direct communication with customers if we believe there are material changes to our ability to continue to deliver essential services.

We have worked with both the MPI Register for Safe Practice and the WorkSafe COVID-19 Safe Work Plan to provide the necessary assurances that the right processes and approaches are in place across our diverse service offerings to protect our people and the public by reducing the potential spread of COVID-19.

Here’s more details on the steps we are taking to ensure we can deliver services to customers safely:

 

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:

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

 

Dairy RMP and RCS Operator Audits:

  • With approval from MPI, we have been undertaking off-site verification since early April.
  • Some face-to-face verification has also continued.
  • Under Alert Level 2, we are transitioning back to on-site assessments. These audits will still include a significant element of off-site review of documentation to keep on-site time to a minimum.
  • You auditor will touch base as your audit becomes due with further instruction.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: RA@asurequality.com

 

Farm Dairy Assessments:

  • On-farm assessments are continuing under guidance from MPI with additional safety precautions.
  • This includes not requiring the farmer be present and gathering evidence to enable the completion of the records/ procedures components remotely (off farm).  Note that this is subject to change.
  • For further information on specific programmes please contact your Key Account Manager, or our Customer Services Team: customerservices@asurequality.com

 

Farm Assurance Audits:

  • On-farm assurance audits are being completed, if agreed by both parties with additional safety precautions.
  • Remote audits can be utilised for the New Zealand Farm Assurance Programme (NZFAP) and some customer specific programmes, if it is deemed unsafe for on-farm assessments.
  • For further information on specific programmes please contact your Key Account Manager, or our Customer Services Team: customerservices@asurequality.com

 

Food Act:

  • With approval from MPI, we have been undertaking off-site verification since early April.
  • MPI have confirmed that Food Act off-site/ remote auditing continues through Alert Level 2. There are some exceptions:
    • Initial verification of food businesses;
    • Follow-up of corrective actions or non-compliances where remote verification is unlikely to be effective;
    • The on-site component of evaluation for a new business seeking registration of a custom food control plan.

        Scope extensions for new activities:

  • With physical distancing and contactless restrictions continuing many Operators will be offering services they have not done before. To accommodate for this, MPI have made available pre-evaluated templates that can be added to your existing programmes via your registration authority. These include:
    • Selling takeaway food
    • Delivering/ transporting food
    • Meal kits and breaking bulk food into smaller packaging for retail
    • Making chilled/ frozen prepared food
    • Making jams, sauces, and chutneys

 

 Third Party Schemes:

  • Including BRCGS, SQF, FSSC, WWSEP, Global GAP, Costco, and Aldi.
  • Face-to-face verification can continue, if agreed by both parties, and is the preference for WWSEP.
  • Food Act verification can be integrated into third party audits, if the third party audit is required for export market access.
  • On-site FSSC and FSSC-Q audits can begin again, if agreed by both parties. Audits that were postponed following a risk assessment are being rescheduled now.
  • BRCGS has introduced new fees for risk assessments completed from 1st June 2020. This BRCGS service fee of £250 is to cover the extended certification period for 6 months.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: TC@asurequality.com or gap@asurequality.com for any GAP related queries.

 

NZGAP Audits

  • We continue to offer on-site NZGAP audits with additional safety precautions.
  • MPI are now allowing on-site Food Act verifications to be conducted together with NZGAP audits under Level 2.
  • For further information on specific programmes please contact: matt.gallagher@asurequality.com

 

Plant Exports (IVA)

  • Under Alert Level 2, MPI expect on-site audits to resume. Face-to-face verification will become the norm again from June, provided it is agreed by both parties.
  • MPI have confirmed that they will allow remote auditing, where needed, throug until the end of May to accommodate for any travel logistics issues.
  • For further information on specific prorammes, please contact: iva@asurequality.com 

 

Apiary RMP:

  • Under Alert Level 2, MPI expect on-site audits to resume. Face-to-face verification will become the norm again from June, provided it is agreed by both parties.
  • MPI have confirmed that they will allow remote auditing, where needed, through until the end of May to accommodate for any travel logistics issues.
  • For further information on specific programmes please contact: byron.taylor@asurequality.com

 

Management Systems Audits:

  • For Quality Management Systems (QMS) and Environmental Systems (EMS), face to face audits can continue, if agreed by both parties.
  • Audits that were postponed following a risk assessment are being rescheduled now.
  • For further information on specific programmes please contact: tc@asurequality.com

 

Organics Programme:

  • With approval from our accreditation bodies and MPI, we have been undertaking off-site verification since early April.
  • Some face-to-face verification has also continued, when agreed by both parties.
  • Face-to-face audits are required for OOAP Operators.
  • Unannounced audits will not be undertaken.
  • In-conversion Operators will not be verified unless it is your final verification before conversion is complete.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: organics@asurequality.com

 

Halal Audits:

  • Off-site verification has been available as an alternative since early April.
  • We are currently transitioning back to face-to-face assessments which will commence in June.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: halal@nzidt.co.nz

 

Training Services:

  • The AsureQuality Academy continues to deliver a number of courses using Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) via Zoom, including:

 

If you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your usual point of contact or our Customer Services Team at customerservices@asurequality.com