2011-12 - Information required in an AQIS Approved Certifying Organisations QM manual

​Date Issued: 7 November 2011
AQIS Notice Number: 2011/12
AQIS File Number:
AFFA01/7727
Date of Effect: Immediate
Date of Expiry: 30 June 2012
AQIS Contact: Julie Crockett + 61 2 6272 3933
Email: NPG Exports 
Distribution Category:
Approved Certifying Organisations
Last Notice in the category: nil
Instruction issued under: Export Control (Organic Produce Certification) Orders

Purpose

1. To clarify the information required in an approved certifying organisations QM manual.

Background

2. The AQIS website hosts AQIS Notices from 2004 – 2011 relevant to the export of organic and bio-dynamic products.

3. The Program during an internal audit, were tasked with addressing the relevance of all AQIS Notices in the AQIS system relating to the export of organic and bio-dynamic products.  The following notices have been updated and joined together as the information has been deemed relevant:

  • 2008/3 – Information required in an Approved Certifying Organisations QM Manual;
  • 2008/5 – Fit and Proper person Requirement

4. AQIS Notice 2008/3 provided clarification of the information required in an AQIS approved certifying organisations QM manual.  AQIS Notice 2008/5 provided instruction regarding the requirement of fit and proper person assessments of relevant certifying organisation staff.

5. The Export Control (Organic Produce Certification) Orders (Organic Orders) clause 3.01 (1) requires that a certifying organisation must:

(a) be operating a QM system that will ensure that organic produce subject to the system:

i. conforms to trade description of the produce; and
ii. complies with the requirements of importing country authorities; and

(b) Have prepared a QM Manual, in relation to the QM system that complies with Division 3.

6. The AQIS Administrative Arrangements for Approved Certifying Organisations Operating Inspection and Certification Activities for Australian Organic and Biodynamic Produce (Administrative Arrangements) were developed to ensure that certifying organisations were provided with standards for meeting these requirements.

7. The National Standard, in conjunction with the Administrative Arrangements and AQIS Notices provides the basis for negotiating equivalence of the AQIS Export Organic Program with importing countries.

8. The Export Control (Organic Produce Certification) Orders state that certifying organisations and individual operators are not eligible to be issued with a QM certificate if their officers or the individual operator is not a fit and proper person. 

9. Refer to Section 3.01 - Eligibility for QM certificates to certifying organisations and Section 3.05 – Eligibility for QM certificates to individual operators of the Organic Orders for full details. The Export Control (Prescribed Goods – General) Orders 2005 (PGGOs) describe a fit and proper person under section 4.05 – Who is a fit and proper person:

(1) The Secretary may, in deciding whether a person is a fit and proper person for the purposes of the Act, the regulations, this Order or another Export Control Order, have regard to any of the following:

(a) Subject to Part VIIC of the Crimes Act 1914, whether the person has been convicted of an offence against the Act, another law of the Commonwealth, or a law of a State or Territory;
(b) Whether a relevant Commonwealth liability is payable by the person, either alone or jointly with another person or other persons;
(c) Whether the person has made a false or misleading statement:

(i) In any application or notice under the Act, the regulations or an Export Control Order; or
(ii) Otherwise, either orally or in writing, in relation to operations, or proposed operations, at a registered establishment, or a proposed registered establishment, or in any way relating to the export of prescribed goods;

(d) Whether the person has failed to comply with any notice, instruction, condition or restriction under the Act, the regulations or an Export Control Order;
(e) Whether the person, either alone or jointly with another person:
(i) Has been refused a licence, permit or approval to export prescribed goods; or
(ii) Has been granted such a licence, permit or approval that has been revoked, suspended or cancelled;
(f) Any other relevant matter in relation to the person;
(g) Whether an associate of the person is not a fit and proper person for the purposes of the Act, the regulations or an Export Control Order, having regard to any of the matters referred to in paragraphs (a) to (g).

Issues

10. In accordance with the Organic Orders clause 3.09 AQIS requires that approved certifying organisations must ensure:

  • QM Manuals comply with the requirements of the AQIS Export Organic Program including the National Standard, the AQIS Administrative Arrangements, all AQOS Notices and any importing country requirements.
  • QM Manuals clearly identify that the approved certifying organisation’s inspection and certification processes confirm that organic product intended for export complies with the National Standard for Organic and Bio-Dynamic Produce.

11. Substantial modifications to QM Manuals must be submitted to AQIS for approval in accordance with clause 3.11 of the Organic Orders.

12. Fit and proper person assessments are conducted of all relevant approved certifying organisation personnel. This includes people in management positions, decision making positions and positions of responsibility such as:

  • General Manager;
  • Director / Deputy Director;
  • Review Committee Officer;
  • Executive Officer;
  • Certification Manager;
  • Chair / Deputy Chair;
  • President;

Instruction

AQIS approved certifying organisations must have documented evidence that they have:

13. Reviewed the QM manual to ensure the QM manual complies with these requirements;

14. Completed a fit and proper person assessment form (attached) for relevant personnel and forward them to AQIS for assessment. This is required whenever staff changes occur in the relevant positions within the organisation.

An application for Fit and Proper Person is available via the PDF download.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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