Producers urged to welcome audits

01 March 2018

Red meat producers should embrace auditing under Australia’s enhanced Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) program, according to one grazier who has recently been through the process.

Andrew Browning runs about 3000 Merino ewes on 1700 hectares in the NSW Riverina. Mr Browning was notified several months ago that his property had been chosen at random to undergo one of approximately 2000 LPA audits conducted nationally by AUS-MEAT on behalf of the Integrity Systems Company each year.

LPA requires that producers comply with seven elements covering animal welfare, biosecurity, property risk assessment, administering safe and responsible animal treatments, feeding livestock safely, preparing animals for dispatch, and recording livestock transactions and movements. Animal welfare and biosecurity were combined with the five original elements to create an enhanced program in October 2017 and, after a phase-in period, became enforceable in July this year.

As part of their commitment to the program, all LPA-accredited producers must agree to take part in auditing as required.

“I was quite stressed initially as I’d never been audited before and didn’t know what to expect,” Mr Browning said. “I also didn’t read the audit information kit that came with the notification until I was prompted by the auditor when he rang to organise his visit. Once I did read it I found it very helpful.”
Initially contacted by letter, Mr Browning was given a three-month window when the audit was to occur.

“Towards the end of that three months the auditor rang to arrange a date. He also prompted me to read the info kit, and then he rang again about a week out to confirm.

“The auditor arrived when arranged and we went into the house and did all the paperwork. He then inspected some areas around the yards and sheds.”

Mr Browning said although he was apprehensive at first, the auditor’s professional manner put him at ease. Mr Browning encouraged all producers to embrace auditing as a positive core component of LPA that offered an opportunity for learning and improving record-keeping, food safety, biosecurity and traceability on-farm.

“It can really help producers to focus on the processes and record-keeping required on farm to enable the whole red meat industry to stand by what they sell."

On the day, the auditor will check how records are maintained and how food safety, biosecurity and animal welfare management is being carried out. The auditor may accompany the producer on an inspection of property facilities relating to food safety. Parts of the farm that have been identified as contaminated with persistent chemicals may also be visited to review the management systems implemented at these locations.

More information on LPA audits

LPA audit check list.