Current LPA auditing arrangements

29 April 2020

The Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) program is the Australian livestock industry’s on-farm assurance program that underpins market access for Australian red meat, managed by Integrity Systems Company (ISC).

Why does LPA need audits?

When LPA accredited producers tick a box on their LPA National Vendor Declaration (NVD), they are guaranteeing their on-farm practices meet LPA requirements and ultimately customer expectations, and those ticks must be backed by accurate farm records.

On-farm audits are conducted each year to ensure the management systems implemented by livestock producers are complying with LPA rules and standards.

Audit arrangements amid COVID-19 restrictions

Independent auditing of Australia’s red meat integrity system provides assurance to domestic and overseas customers that Australian red meat is safe to eat and ethically produced, and despite the complications of the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, the auditing process needs to continue.

Due to COVID-19, there are circumstances where producers may be of higher risk to the virus or already in isolation. In these instances, AUS-MEAT will work with the producer to determine the best process to meet individual concerns, while ensuring the audit can take place within a reasonable timeframe or via an alternate process.

Who is audited and what does it involve?

All LPA accredited producers may be audited, with audit participants selected from the database of LPA accredited producers. Annually, 2,000 producers are selected at random and 1,000 selected for targeted audits due to system identified non-conformance.

Producers selected for audits will receive an LPA Audit Notification Letter and Checklist containing information to help prepare for the audit. They are then contacted by an auditor to arrange a time for the audit to take place, and to request more information.

Producers selected for audits need to review on-farm practices and adequately prepare for audits to avoid common non-conformances.

Common non-conformances

According to the qualified AUS-MEAT auditors who conduct the on-farm audits for the LPA program, the most common non-conformances include:

  • Livestock access to possible contaminants such as machinery, contaminated sites and lead paint on old buildings
  • Inadequate or no biosecurity plan
  • Inadequate recording of livestock movements, including the upload of transfers to the NLIS database 
  • Inadequate record keeping of chemical use, livestock treatments, and fodder purchases.

Avoiding common non-conformances

  • Complete a Propery Risk Assessment, identifying all possible sources of persistent chemicals or physical contaminants that livestock might have access to, including batteries, oil, paint and fertiliser.
  • Check if livestock access to dumps, old machinery, dog or chook food, which may contain restricted animal materials (RAM) - these are areas for concern and should be stored separately and securely from livestock feed.
  • Develop a Biosecurity Plan and review and update it annually.
  • Keep a record of all Animal Treatments, and update this record every time an animal is treated with veterinary chemicals.
  • Ensure all Livestock Movements are recorded and uploaded to the NLIS database, including the NVD serial number.

Keeping records of the date and location of treatment, description, number of livestock treated, the chemicals used, and documenting the relevant Withholding Period and Export Slaughter Interval on the LPA NVD is critical to ensure livestock are not processed for human consumption until safe.

Any livestock moved onto an LPA accredited property must be recorded on the NLIS Database either by the producer themselves or an authorised representative such as an agent. However, it is the producer’s responsibility to ensure this transaction takes place within the timeframe required by their State or jurisdiction regulations (generally 48 hours).

How to prepare for an audit

Producers should review on-farm practices against the audit checklist included in the LPA Audit Notification Pack to ensure their operation is up to date and identify any areas that may need attention before the audit.