BRC Food Safety Standard
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is the leading trade body for UK retailers. The BRC Global Standards provide a scalable option, easily tailored to large or small operations, with suppliers from over 100 countries already certified against it. In keeping with a complete supply chain approach, there are 4 standards under the BRC umbrella, including:
- BRC Global Food Standard,
- BRC Storage and Distribution,
- BRC IOP for Food Packaging, and
- BRC Consumer Products.
The major areas covered by the Standards include Senior Management Commitment and Continuous Improvement; Food Safety and Quality Management System; Site Standards; Product Control; Process Control and; Personnel.
Strengths of the BRC standard include highly detailed descriptions of process and hygiene control – this provides management and employees with clear expectations of the day-to-day actions that will contribute to the overall food safety strategy. In other words, highly applicable information that employees can use to deal with real-world situations. The BRC certification process itself is efficient, with only an on-site audit and no requirement for a ‘desk study’ step. Should a business ever wish to be re-certified – either to demonstrate commitment or address a problem – the BRC accommodates requests for voluntary re-audits at any time. Additionally, BRC certification covers food safety, quality, and also legality, which is of great concern to any stakeholder navigating the complexity of food law.
After receiving and accepting a proposal from an accredited certification body for BRC certification, the business may choose to conduct a preparatory pre-audit to identify any gaps with the requirements. Alternately it may proceed directly to the official certification audit in which all parts of the site and processes are assessed against the scope of the standard. If the resultant Corrective Action Report reveals any non-conformities, the business will provide documentary evidence or submit to an on-site evaluation of the corrective actions within 28 calendar days. BRC certification will be granted pending a review by an authorized Certification Manager.
As with all standards, BRC regular re-certification audits are conducted at intervals – 12 months for audits that are graded ‘A’ and ‘B’, and 6 months for audits that result in a ‘C’ rating. These re-audits also look at the steps taken since the initial audit to deal with past non-conformities, and whether the re-audit was conducted by the due date.
For more information about this scheme visit BRC’s website at: www.brcglobalstandards.com.