Development of a kernel assessment and laboratory accreditation scheme for macadamias (MC11014)
What was it all about?
Returns to macadamia growers are determined by the in-shell price paid by processors, which is based on an assessment of the kernel quality of a sample taken at consignment delivery. How the sample is taken and subsequently assessed is important, not only in determining growers’ income but also in providing confidence and transparency in the valuation process, and ultimately driving quality improvement throughout the industry.
This project developed and implemented a kernel assessment and laboratory accreditation scheme to establish clear, objective and documented standards for both the quality parameters used in kernel assessment and the procedures and processes involved.
The first step was to establish a working group of senior staff from currently accredited laboratories. The group reviewed the existing assessment manual including the classification of kernel disorders and associated images. Where extra information was required to make an effective assessment of disorders and the level of severity, images in the manual were supplemented.
A revised and updated set of kernel assessment standards and laboratory accreditation scheme rules were produced. A comprehensive laboratory assessment manual was developed and published.
The program previously had no management or oversight structure, so a steering committee was established to provide a mechanism for ongoing review and improvement of the assessment standards or lab accreditation.
Also as part of the project, training programs for laboratory staff and growers were reviewed and reworked as a result of the changes to the standards and the manual. Training programs were delivered by an accredited trainer for both laboratory staff and for growers.
Growers can now be assured that the assessment process is based on rigorous standards and performed by trained assessors.
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation
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