EBLEX is offering non-assured abattoirs the opportunity to receive a pre-audit to identify any non-conformances which may prevent accreditation to an appropriate assurance scheme.
The pre-audit, which is available free of charge, will highlight any potential gaps in the assessment standards and sets out a simple plan to resolve the issues before an audit is undertaken with a certification body.
Sarah Wareham, who operates an abattoir in East Sussex, recently undertook a pre-audit. She said: “The pre-audit was a really useful exercise and helped to highlight a couple of very minor processes that we needed to review in order to pass a full audit, and become an approved processor of assured beef, lamb and pork.
“For us it was a really important move, as we wanted to expand and grow our business, plus it was also a prerequisite of a new customer who was really keen to work with us.
“The pre-audit not only helped me to understand more about the benefits of becoming an assured processor, it also meant we were able to avoid any additional costs which we may have otherwise incurred if we had failed the audit with a certification body.
“The support we’ve received from EBLEX since becoming an assured member is ongoing and we have a continued dialogue with them. They’ve helped to organise a number of open days on our farm, conducting presentations and supplying marketing collateral, which has allowed us to promote and exploit the fact that we are now supplying Quality Standard Mark beef and lamb to new and existing customers.”
Laura Bishop, EBLEX marketing manager (Quality Schemes), said: “We introduced the free pre-auditing service to help businesses that would like to become assured highlight any gaps which would otherwise see them fail the audit through one of the certification bodies. The pre-audit uses benchmarking criteria to map out any gaps and a plan is then put together to help them make the necessary changes.
“I’d urge any abattoir that is considering an audit to contact us in the first instance to see how we can assist you. The benefits of being an appropriately Assured Meat Processor, which include increased market opportunities and eligibility to carry EBLEX Quality Standard Mark logos on your products, are there for the taking.”
EBLEX has a range of other services available to help abattoirs improve meat quality, overall efficiency and profitability. For example, it can help identify potential market opportunities through full carcase utilisation, such as the export market for fifth quarter and animal by-products. It can also provide support by liaising with local producers and farm shops to ensure they understand the exact product specifications that abattoirs require. And it can assist with the development of regional brands and new product development ideas. Further information is contained within a new leaflet ‘Servies for the Abattoir Sector’, which can be downloaded from www.eblextrade.co.uk/developyourbusiness
For further information or to arrange a pre-audit, call the Quality Standard Mark Scheme Hotline: 0845 491 8787.
Notes to editors:
- The pre-audit is a free service provided by EBLEX for qualifying businesses.
- Any business that wishes to proceed with a full audit directly with the certification body will be required to pay a fee. Further information in terms of the associated costs is available from each certification body.
EBLEX is the organisation for beef and lamb levy payers in England and is a division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).
It exists to enhance the profitability and sustainability of the English beef and lamb sector. Its aims are:
- To help the beef and sheep meat supply chain become more efficient
- To add value to the beef and sheep meat industry.
The EBLEX Trade Marketing team supports businesses throughout the retail and foodservice supply chains for beef and lamb. From abattoirs and processors to wholesalers, independent and multiple retailers and foodservice operators, we work with businesses to improve their operational effectiveness and assist with beef and lamb product development, marketing and promotion. Visit our website. Twitter. Facebook.