Export meat systems audit program policy fact sheet

What is the Export Meat Systems Audit Program (EMSAP)?

It is the Department of Agriculture’s new six-monthly systems audit program that is replacing the bi-monthly Area Technical Manager (ATM) periodic audits. EMSAP has been developed for export registered red meat slaughtering establishments and independent boning rooms.

EMSAP is an AEMIS reform initiative designed to enhance and streamline the department’s regulatory compliance model. The new audit program is risk-based and will continue to underpin the department’s health certification of export eligible meat and meat products. The audit frequency has been reduced from bi-monthly to six-monthly giving establishments’ greater autonomy in managing their approved arrangements.

The department undertook a systematic review of its regulatory audit model and has worked closely with industry during the development phase of the new system.

When will EMSAP be implemented on my establishment?

EMSAP was launched on 1 March 2014 inviting eligible establishments to nominate for system audit. There are set criteria that an establishment must meet before it can participate in EMSAP.

These are:

  • The establishment must be an export registered meat slaughtering establishment or an independent boning room
  • The establishment must have been rated Acceptable at the most recent ATM bi-monthly periodic audit
  • The establishment must not have points in the Scheme for Corrective Action (SCA)
  • The establishment must not have active critical incident response measures, actions or sanctions

Applications are assessed by the Field Operations Manager (FOM) who is responsible for the implementation plan.

Who will conduct systems audits?

Systems audits are conducted by veterinary Area Technical Managers (ATMs) who are qualified, competent systems auditors. The team will consist of two people. The lead auditor will be independent meaning that in the past two years, they have not had a supervisory ATM role for that establishment. The second audit team member will be the establishment’s supervisory ATM. Audits will be conducted over two and a half days for slaughter establishments and one and a half days for independent boning rooms.

The lead auditor is responsible for communicating with establishment management and will provide 30 days notice of the audit. Audit plans will be developed and managed by the lead auditor. They are also responsible for the audit outcome, audit report and issuing Corrective Action Requests (CARs).

The supervisory ATM auditor will participate fully in the systems audit undertaking record reviews, observing product and processes and interviewing staff. They will undertake their audit duties at the direction of the lead auditor and in line with the audit plan.

For slaughter establishments – What is the role of the department On-Plant Veterinarian during a systems audit?

The role of the OPV during a systems audit is to assist the department’s systems audit team when required. Department on-plant records relevant to inspection and verification will fall within the scope of record review for systems audit.

In consultation with the supervisory ATM, the OPV will be responsible for management of any CARs issued during the systems audit.

For independent boning rooms - What is the role of the department Food Safety Auditor (FSA) during a systems audit?

The role of the FSA during a 6 systems audit is to assist the department’s systems audit team when required. Department on-plant records relevant to inspection and verification will fall within the scope of record review for systems audit.

In consultation with the supervisory ATM, the FSA will be responsible for management of any CARs issued during the systems audit.

What changes will occur to the department’s on-plant management system?

The department has developed a new on-plant management system called the Meat Establishment Management System (MEVS). This system will be rolled out on an establishment once it has undergone its first systems audit.

The main difference between the current on-plant system and MEVS is that bimonthly ATM periodic audits will discontinue and a monthly OPV/FSA periodic audit will commence. On-plant audits are required so the department can continue to manage critical non-conformance through Corrective Action Requests.

On-plant periodic audits will be managed by the OPV on slaughter establishments and the FSA at independent boning rooms.

The ATM will assume a supervisory role for on-plant staff and will conduct supervisory visits on a bi-monthly basis. The intention of these visits is to oversee the MEVS system.

Department inspection and verification procedures remain the same however some verification task frequencies have been altered to accommodate the monthly audit process. To assist on-plant staff with the new frequencies, the department has developed new Audit Management System (AMS) verification templates. Non-conforming verification will be managed through the AMS Non-Conformance Issue (NCI) register. Critical non-conformance will be managed through the AMS CAR process.

The scope of the monthly periodic audit is based on the MEVS verification schedule. The report will be a summary of all verification that has occurred in the audit period. The department will continue to use AMS for audit reporting.

Weekly meetings between the department and establishment management will continue. The meeting in the final week of the monthly audit will be used to deliver the monthly audit report.

Where can I find departmental policy for EMSAP and MEVS?

There are two departmental policies that underpin the operational and managerial aspects of EMSAP. These are:

  • Export Meat Systems Audit Policy
  • Export Meat Systems Audit Management Policy
  • Meat Establishment Verification System (MEVS) – Abattoir Policy
  • Meat Establishment Verification System (MEVS) – Independent Boning Room Policy

These policies are available on the department website.

How do I nominate for systems audit?

If you believe your establishment meets with the EMSAP selection criteria then contact Dr Samantha Allan who will initiate the systems audit process.

Phone: 07 3246 8755
Email: MidOpsCoord