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Issue 15  |  November 2020
This month's Freshcare in Focus contents includes: 

Freshcare Releases FSQ4.2 

The Freshcare Food Safety & Quality Standard - Edition 4.2 (FSQ4.2) was released to participating businesses on 9th November 2020.  The update and release of the FSQ4.2 Standard ensures Freshcare meets the Global Food Safety Initiative, GFSI v2020 benchmark requirements.

A six month transition period to update to the FSQ4.2 Standard is in place for all existing program participants, with external Freshcare audits conducted from Monday 3rd May 2021 to be to the FSQ4.2 Standard.

What are the changes?
Transition Guide that details the specific changes can be downloaded from

In summary, the updates include:
  • Greater emphasis and focus on Food Safety Culture.
  • M3 Training and development - update requires annual reviews of workers’ training needs.
  • The requirement for Freshcare training has not changed for participating businesses that have been audited to FSQ4.
  • F13 Product identification and traceability - update requires dispatch records to be maintained and a test of product traceability.
  • M4 Internal Audit Report - form updated to include FSQ4.2 criteria.
  • Freshcare Rules are now included in Section 1 of the FSQ4.2 Standard.
  • Freshcare Rules - updates include guidance on Unannounced Audits and Two-Part Audit Process.
If I was last audited to FSQ4, can I update straight to FSQ4.2?
Depending on your audit cycle, some businesses could progress straight from FSQ4 to a re-certification audit to FSQ4.2.  If this applies to you and your audit is to take place prior to the 3rd May 2021, you will need to advise your Certification Body at the time of scheduling and request an FSQ4.2 audit.  Some Certification Bodies will not offer audits to FSQ4.2 until the 3rd May 2021.

How do I access the FSQ4.2 Standard and resources?
The FSQ4.2 Standard and supporting resources including record keeping forms and factsheets can be freely downloaded from the Freshcare website:
Additional resources are available to participants from FreshcareOnline or hard copy resources can be purchased from

Why has Freshcare updated the Standard to FSQ4.2?
In 2019, Freshcare was benchmarked against the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), to ensure ongoing domestic and global market acceptance of the Freshcare Standards.
The Global Food Safety Initiative released GFSI v2020 benchmark criteria in February 2020 and set a maximum period of time that Certification Program Owners (such as Freshcare) had to update the Standard and supporting program.
The Freshcare Food Safety & Quality Standard has therefore been updated to FSQ4.2 to ensure Freshcare certification remains compliant with the GFSI requirements.

What if I need assistance with the update to FSQ4.2?
If you require any assistance with the changes to the FSQ4.2 Standard, please contact the Freshcare Office on 1300 853 508 or email

The Freshcare Trainer network is also available to provide local, tailored assistance to help with the update to FSQ4.2. For trainer contact details visit:

What if I'm enrolled in the FSQ4.1 eLearning course?
Trainees who are currently enrolled in the FSQ4.1 full course or FSQ4.1 transition course with Freshcare eLearning, will have an FSQ4.2 module linked to their course access freely to assist them in updating to the requirements of FSQ4.2.

If you have any questions or require assistance with course access please email:

All new trainees that register from December 2020, will enroll directly into the FSQ4.2 course options.

If I’m new to Freshcare do I go straight to FSQ4.2?
Yes, new businesses will be able to undertake training and access resources to the FSQ4.2 Standard. Training is available via the Freshcare Trainer network or Freshcare eLearning. It is recommended that a minimum of 3 months' records are in place prior to new businesses being audited.

Additional Questions?
Check out the FSQ4.2 - Q & A’s on the Freshcare website
Or email your questions directly to

Maintaining Certification During COVID-19 Restrictions

Following the global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Freshcare established provisions for Certification Bodies to help businesses impacted by restrictions, maintain their Freshcare Certification.

The provisions for the Management of Extraordinary Circumstances - COVID-19, have allowed Certification Bodies to provide audit rescheduling, temporary exemptions, and certificate extensions to businesses impacted by COVID-19 travel or hot-spot restrictions. These provisions remain in place for any business impacted, across all Freshcare Standards.    

Businesses impacted by COVID-19 travel or hot-spot restrictions should contact their Certification Body directly to seek options on maintaining their Freshcare certification.

Audit due or scheduled
  • If it is possible for the auditor to conduct your on-site audit, it should be undertaken when scheduled.
  • If restrictions do not permit your audit to be undertaken, Freshcare Certification Bodies have provisions in place to provide certificate extensions up 6 months as outlined below.
Certificate extensions up to 6 months
  • Freshcare certificate extensions are issued by your Certification Body.
  • Certification Bodies will request evidence from the business prior to granting a certificate extension.
  • Certificate extensions are based on a risk assessment of the business/situation as conducted by the Certification Body.
  • Records of certificate extensions are maintained by your Certification Body and updated in FreshcareOnline.
  • Certificate extensions will extend the certificate expiry of your current certificate only. This will be evident via an update to the expiry date and new reference number on your certificate. 
  • You must schedule a date for your recertification audit to be conducted before the certificate extension expires. 
  • Certificate extensions will not result in a change to the Certification Anniversary Month of participating business.
Certificate extensions can not be provided
  • If the participating business account remains unpaid or the previous audit is still open.
  • If the business' reasoning to not have an audit undertaken is not justified.
  • If the business is no longer operating, has been recently sold or transferred.
  • If the business does not confirm that they will continue with Freshcare certification after the extension.
  • If there is a complaint against the business or food safety incident, that requires investigation or on-site visit.
If you require any further information, please contact Freshcare on 1300 853 508 or email

Transition and Audits for the Freshcare Australian Wine Industry Standards of Sustainable Practice  

Registered businesses that had previously participated or received training to the Freshcare Environmental Viticulture or Environmental Winery Codes of Practice will need to transition to the Freshcare Australian Wine Industry Standard of Sustainable Practice - Viticulture (AWISSP-VIT1) or Winery (AWISSP-WIN1), by 1 January 2021. 

From 1 January 2021, only audits to Freshcare AWISSP-VIT1 or  Freshcare AWISSP-WIN1 will be undertaken. 

From now until the end of the year, businesses trained or certified to the previous Freshcare Environmental Codes of Practice can nominate to have their audit to the previous code(s) or the latest Freshcare AWISSP Standard(s).

Existing Freshcare participants can now access the updated Freshcare AWISSP resources including forms and factsheets, via their FreshcareOnline login

New participants to Sustainable Winegrowing Australia that are keen to progress to certification, will need to undertake training to assist with program implementation and preparation for a certification audit. Information on Freshcare Trainers that can deliver training to the Freshcare AWISSP Standards can be found here: 

For more information visit: Sustainable Winegrowing Australia or contact the AWRI helpdesk on or 08 8313 6600.

Freshcare Recognised Supplier Spotlight

MRL Testing - A Matter of Safety 

In a world where consumers demand assurances that the food they eat is safe and meets the most stringent standards, you need a Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) testing solution designed to reduce risk exposure. Since 2001 FreshTest® has become Australia’s most extensive cost effective MRL testing program.

FreshTest covers chemical, heavy metal, microbial, water, and specialised testing, through a strict regime of collection, sample identification, labelling, and reporting. It is available to all growers directly but can also be conveniently processed through a central market wholesaler, at an affordable price.

Residue testing, colloquially referred to as MRL testing, has been part of Australia’s horticultural landscape since 1945 and forms part of the verification of production and packaging businesses’ food safety systems.

Ready for Audit? 

For timely and accurate audit scheduling, it is best to contact your Certification Body directly, not your local or previous auditor.  

To obtain a quote for your Freshcare audit from the approved Certification Bodies, complete the Audit Quote Request Form:

FreshcareOnline for Program Participants

If you have your login details or Freshcare certification number, you can access FreshcareOnline at 

If you need your details reset, please email

For more information visit:
Impacted by Extraordinary Circumstances?
Businesses that are experiencing difficulties or financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, or have been impacted by extraordinary circumstances, are advised to contact the Freshcare office to discuss options for their business' program registration and ongoing certification.

Christmas - New Year Office Closure 

The Freshcare Office will be closed from
4.30 pm Wednesday 23rd December 2020 until
8.30 am Monday 4th January 202. 

Urgent enquiries during this period can be emailed to
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