The Australian Macadamia Society Kernel Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (KLAS) was established to ensure clear, objective and documented standards for the assessment of macadamia kernel. The scheme ensures participating laboratories adhere to a consistent standardised method of kernel assessment used to determine financial returns and reporting back to growers.
AMS KLAS Accreditation is currently held by ten labs across the industry, with a further three labs holding ‘In Transition’ status. Accreditation is recognised by growers and provides the industry with confidence and transparency in the assessment and reporting being undertaken at these laboratories.
All Accredited labs undergo a biennial independent audit to confirm they operating as per the Scheme Rules, which cover quality parameters, procedures and processes. Audits are conducted by Southern Cross University and verifies compliance with regards to sampling, drying, weighing and assessment. Lab equipment is also assessed for calibration of balances, masses and ovens, ice point thermometer checks and recorded documents.
A key element of accreditation is the requirement for lab staff to attend annual training events certifying they have and maintain the necessary knowledge and skills for undertaking kernel assessments. Training is conducted at the start of the season in March each year and aims to ensure that staff in all kernel laboratories are classifying kernel in a consistent way and are correctly identifying disorders for reporting and grower payments. Staff who have been assessing kernel for three or more consecutive seasons and who have undertaken the necessary training are considered Accredited Supervisors and are approved to supervise ‘Trainees’ who have less than 12 months experience.
Designed to ensure minimal variance in assessment and subsequent reporting, KLAS labs participate in an annual Round Robin’, inter-lab testing. Each lab receives NIS samples from the same batch of NIS. They then undertake a kernel assessment and report results back to the AMS and the Auditor via kernel recovery worksheets. The Auditor then analyses the data from the 13 labs to determine the consistency of results which is expected to have a deviation of less than 2%.
The KLAS allows for new labs to enter the program by acknowledging these labs as ‘In Transition’. These labs are required to adhere to the scheme rules and requirements, commit to the training of all staff and undergo annual auditing for the first three years.
The Scheme Rules also require labs to adhere to the minimum requirements for reporting to growers, as set out in the Macadamia Industry Quality Handbook, and allow for a confidential complaints and disputes process to ensure independent scrutiny and mediation when required. Once they have met all the requirements of the Kernel Laboratory Assessment Scheme, they then become fully Accredited Labs.
All macadamia growers are encouraged to use only AMS accredited laboratories for kernel assessments. It not only provides you with confidence in the commercially important assessment of your crop but helps build market confidence in Australian macadamias and maintains the value of our products.
Click here to see AMS Accredited Labs or click the individual lab below to go straight to their profile on the AMS suppliers’ pages.
AMS Accredited Labs (in alphabetical order);
Labs in Transition
Established over 15 years ago and originally funded by the macadamia levy, KLAS is managed by the AMS on behalf of the industry. The program is overseen by a Steering Committee which includes a member from each of the labs and processors involved and is chaired by an independent AMS appointee. The role of the committee is to direct the on-going review and implementation of standards for kernel assessment, and the associated audit and accreditation programs. For any queries and questions please email the KLAS Co-ordinator Darren Burton at email@example.com
This website has been partly funded by Hort Innovation, using the macadamia research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government.