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COVID-19 Important Updates


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AsureQuality COVID-19 Pandemic Plan and Actions Update #20

Laboratory Services:

  • All of our laboratories are currently operating effectively at close to 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.
  • As the lockdown extends, 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.
  • We are aware that many couriers have changed or reduced the number of their collections/ deliveries each day. Please liaise closely with your chosen courier service provider to ensure your samples arrive at our laboratories when anticipated.

Audit, Inspection And Certification Services:

  • We are opting to take a precautionary approach in light of the elevated risks associated with the delta variant.
  • In the current high risk regions of Auckland, Coromandel, and Wellington, our preference is to delay and reschedule all work that cannot be completed off-site/ remotely, unless it is deemed critical, and mutually agreed with customers.
  • For the rest of New Zealand, our preference is to complete all work as it is scheduled, and mutually agreed with customers.
  • Below is a summary of the most up to date status of all our key programme areas.



Programme

      Current state (24 August 2021)

Farm Dairy Assessments

  • At Alert Level 4, on-farm activities continue on-site following appropriate COVID-19 guidelines for risk assessment, mandatory mask-wearing, other PPE, social distancing, strict hygiene protocols, and contact tracing.
  • 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/ 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 4, on-farm audits continue on-site following appropriate COVID-19 guidelines for risk assessment, mandatory mask-wearing, other PPE, social distancing, strict hygiene protocols, and contact tracing.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact your Key Account Manager, or our Customer Services Team: customerservices@asurequality.com

Live Animal and Germplasm Verification

  • At Alert Level 4, Live Animal export verification continue following appropriate COVID-19 guidelines for risk assessment, mandatory mask-wearing, other PPE, social distancing, strict hygiene protocols, and contact tracing.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: customerservices@asurequality.com

Seed Services

  • At Alert Level 4, the Seed Laboratory, Plant Health Laboratory, and Seed Certification Bureau continue to operate.
  • All essential in-field activities, including crop inspections, endpoint inspections, and audits continue on-site following appropriate COVID-19 guidelines for risk assessment, mandatory mask-wearing, other PPE, social distancing, strict hygiene protocols, and contact tracing.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact your Key Account Manager, or our Customer Services Team: customerservices@asurequality.com

TBfree programme

  • At Alert Level 4, on-site activities continue, where not completing this work would be detrimental to the effectiveness of the programme, and only following appropriate COVID-19 guidelines for risk assessment, mandatory mask-wearing, other PPE, social distancing, strict hygiene protocols, and contact tracing.
  • For further information, please contact the call centre on: 03 353 7438

Biosecurity and Animal Health Services

  • For the M. bovis programme, and a number of other Biosecurity programmes on-site activities continue, where not completing this work would be detrimental to the effectiveness of the programmes, and only following appropriate COVID-19 guidelines for risk assessment, mandatory mask-wearing, other PPE, social distancing, strict hygiene protocols, and contact tracing.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: customerservices@asurequality.com

Dairy RMP and RCS Operator Audits

  • At Alert Level 4, MPI require audits to be conducted off-site except where there is a valid reason not to do so.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: RA@asurequality.com

Engineering

  • At Alert Level 4, activities continue on-site following appropriate COVID-19 guidelines for risk assessment, mandatory mask-wearing, other PPE, social distancing, strict hygiene protocols, and contact tracing.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: dairyengineering@asurequality.com

Food Act

Third Party Schemes

Including BRC, SQF, FSSC, WWSEP, GlobalGAP and various other programmes.

  • At Alert Level 4, audits will be conducted off-site remotely, or deferred, as allowed by the specific scheme.
  • On-site work will be considered in extenuating circumstances, following appropriate COVID-19 guidelines for risk assessment, mandatory mask-wearing, other PPE, social distancing, strict hygiene protocols, and contact tracing.
  • 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.
  • We are required to conduct a Risk Assessment of the impacts of your COVID-19 response provisions on your FSSC Food Safety Management System. This will also allow us to postpone your audit and extend your existing Certification if required.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact BRC/ SQF: food@asurequality.com; FSSC: TC@asurequality.com; or gap@asurequality.com for any GAP related queries.

NZGAP Audits

  • At Alert Level 4, off-site remote audits are advised.
  • On-site audits are possible, where agreed by both parties, and following appropriate COVID-19 guidelines for risk assessment, mandatory mask-wearing, other PPE, social distancing, strict hygiene protocols, and contact tracing.
  • NZGAP audits with a Food Act Recognition cannot be completed at this time, and are required to be deferred.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: gap@asurequality.com

Industry Quality and Grade

  • At Alert Level 4, on-site activities continue, where agreed by both parties and following appropriate COVID-19 guidelines for risk assessment, mandatory mask-wearing, other PPE, social distancing, strict hygiene protocols, and contact tracing.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: industryquality@asurequality.com

IVA Inspection

  • At Alert Level 4, with some exceptions, we are making every effort to avoid on-site verification. Some critical activities may be required on-site, following appropriate COVID-19 guidelines for risk assessment, mandatory mask-wearing, other PPE, social distancing, strict hygiene protocols, and contact tracing.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: inspection@asurequality.com

IVA Certificate Verification

  • At Alert Level 4, activities will be conducted off-site remotely, except where there is a valid reason not to do so.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: iva@asurequality.com

IVA Audits

  • At Alert Level 4, with some exceptions, we are making every effort to avoid on-site verification.
  • Some critical activities may be required on-site, following appropriate COVID-19 guidelines for risk assessment, mandatory mask-wearing, other PPE, social distancing, strict hygiene protocols, and contact tracing.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: iva@asurequality.com

Apiary RMP

  • At Alert Level 4, activities will be conducted off-site remotely, except where there is a valid reason not to do so.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: apiary@asurequality.com

Management Systems Audits

  • At Alert Level 4, for Quality Management Systems (QMS) and Environmental Systems (EMS), we are making every effort to avoid on-site verification.
  • In extenuating situations on-site audits may continue, where agreed by both parties and following appropriate COVID-19 guidelines for risk assessment, mandatory mask-wearing, other PPE, social distancing, strict hygiene protocols, and contact tracing.
  • Where this is not possible, audits can be conducted off-site remotely or, using a hybrid model where some elements can be assessed off-site with the remainder reviewed on-site at an agreed later date.
  • We are required to conduct a Risk Assessment of the impacts of your COVID-19 response provisions on your QMS and/ or EMS. This will also allow us to postpone your audit and extend your existing Certification if required.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: tc@asurequality.com

Organics Programmes

  • At Alert Level 4, MPI require audits to be conducted off-site remotely, or deferred, with a few exceptions.
  • For further information on specific programmes, please contact: organics@asurequality.com

 

Meat Inspection Services:

  • In alignment with our meat processing customers and the MIA, meat inspection services continue under the agreed protocols for Alert Level 4 including mandatory mask-wearing and temperature checking for our meat inspectors
  • For further information, please contact your AsureQuality Area Manager.


Training Services:

  • A number of courses are available during Alert Level 4 using Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) via Zoom, including:
    • Introductory Food HACCP
    • Introductory Auditing Skills
    • Introductory Food Fraud (VACCP)
    • Introductory Food Defence (TACCP)
    • Introductory Food Safety
    • Introductory Food Safety - Early Childcare
    • Advanced Auditing Skills
    • VTA (Vertebrate Toxic Agent)
  • For further information, please look online (external link) , 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 out to our customer services team at customerservices@asurequality.com or your usual point of contact within AsureQuality.