Digital dairy: Australia pilots new regulatory system to slash paperwork and boost safety
According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Victoria is Australia’s largest dairy exporter, producing 79% of the country’s total dairy exports. The state’s dairy industry as a whole is worth A$1.9bn (US$1.31bn).
The system is dubbed Dairy RegTech2022, and is run by government regulatory body Dairy Food Safety Victoria. It is modelled on the use of digital data collection and analytics to monitor business performance in terms of safety and adherence to dairy regulatory global best practices.
“Dairy RegTech 2022 integrates performance data (indicators of process and product related risk) and measures of behaviour (food safety culture i.e. behavioural driven risks) to verify [regulatory] food safety compliance across the entire dairy supply chain, rather than solely focusing on audits,” said Dairy Food Safety Victoria via its website.
“[It uses] data already collected by industry, [and our existing] knowledge base gained through auditing, and [extends the processes] to capture data and do analysis. Digital technology [is also used] to streamline information collection and reporting.”
“What is new is the partnership with industry in developing, piloting and implementing a different approach [and] importantly incorporating food safety culture into operational and decision-making frameworks.”
Another area of focus is to minimise the paperwork involved, especially during the audit processes.
“Anyone involved in the production of dairy products in Victoria is required to have a licence and comply with specific conditions. For many licensees, this involves an audit process which focuses on reviewing paper records,” said the Office of the Premier of Victoria via a separate statement.
“[This new digital model [reduces] the regulatory burden for dairy licensees and supports dairy education initiatives, [in addition to] supporting a proactive approach to meeting regulatory requirements and [promoting] a positive food safety culture.”
Dairy RegTech 2022 received funding of some A$500,000 (US$344,000) from the Australian Government to implement, and was launched earlier this year at Dairy Food Safety Victoria’s Annual General Meeting by Australia Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes.
“We’re working closely with the dairy industry to make sure this innovative new digital regulation model will help to grow Victoria’s sector while prioritising the safety of dairy consumers,” said Symes at the launch.
“The Labor Government is committed to supporting Victoria’s dairy industry, which is an important part of the state’s A$14.1bn (US$9.7bn) agriculture sector and a key component of the plan to grow the sector to A$20bn (US$13.7bn) by 2030,” added the Office of the Premier of Victoria.
The system will be officially launched within the dairy supply chain starting with the farming sector in 2020.
More on Dairy RegTech 2022
Dairy Food Safety Victoria is currently developing a two-year strategy to implement this system, and its pilot is being conducted with eleven dairy manufacturers: Bega Cheese, Bulla Dairy Foods, CamperdownDairy, Chobani, Fonterra, Freedom Foods, Holy Goat Cheese , Lactalis, Saputo, Lion Dairy and Drinks, and Meredith Dairy.
“The objective of the pilot is to confirm that we have the systems, industry support, and evidence to support [this] compliance model,” said the agency.
Moving forth, the pilot will focus on real time monitoring and in-depth analysis of data submitted, retrieved and processed into useful information from earlier work with these companies in hopes of developing dashboard reporting for more efficient usage.