Audits have been going ahead to ensure growers can still sell assured produce during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Most assessments take place in growers’ homes and offices so were halted in March, giving rise to concerns that assurance status to sell products to retailers would be affected.
One certification body, NSF International, reassured growers that business could continue as normal thanks to rapid innovation and determination. Within 72 hours of the UK entering lockdown, it was able to re-start audits with the use of secure video conferencing software called BlueJeans which has enabled auditors to visually assess all parts of a member’s business, while maintaining all social distancing and isolation requirements.
Agriculture Director Anita Roberts (pictured) said: “All our farming customers can be reassured that the NSF International team will help them through this new process. We recognise that technology is not something everyone is comfortable with and we have therefore trained our assessors and team members to help our farm members through the process.”
She said all assessors have received training on the heightened risks that Covid-19 brings so they can share those insights and thoughts with growers as they complete assessments.
Anita said the company is very aware of the increased periods of isolation many are likely to experience while restrictions on movement continue. “Our assessors are often the only non-family member a farmer sees during the day so we are proud to continue our sponsorship of the Farming Community Network (FCN),” she said.