After a year of planning, re-write meetings, consultations, trial audits, training preparation and translating, Issue 7 of the standard was finally published in January 2015.
The standard has been updated to improve food safety, reduce multiple audits, facilitate continual improvement, provide an improved ‘due diligence’ defence, and address emerging issues such as food fraud and traceability through the entire food chain.
Now is the time to conduct a gap analysis, to identify any amendments needed before your next audit and also to start implementing the changes.
Key changes to the requirements:
- Supplier Approval – tighter standards for supplier approval. Questionnaires are only acceptable for low risk suppliers, other suppliers must have third party certification or be audited. Control is required over the supply chain where Agents and Brokers are involved to ensure the last manufacturer or packer is known
- Traceability – verification that suppliers’ traceability systems are effective. Where suppliers are approved by questionnaire, their traceability system shall be tested on first approval and then again every three years
- New section – Customer Focus and Communication. Need to ensure customer requirements are met and that these requirements are communicated to relevant suppliers
- Factory zoning – ambient high care introduced to improve hygiene controls for ambient products, where it is known that vegetative pathogens can survive in the product
- New section – Management of Surplus Food and Products for Animal Feed. Controls required for surplus customer branded products as well as food that will be given to charities and sold in staff shops
- New Section – Product Labelling – systems to be in place to check accuracy and legality of information on labels
- Product authenticity – systems are required to control the risk of purchasing adulterated or fraudulent raw materials. Companies need to demonstrate awareness of emerging issues. Vulnerability assessments to assess the risk of adulteration in raw materials are required
- New section – Labelling and Pack Control – more specific requirements for product changeovers and use of correct packaging and label details during production
The grading has been changed to differentiate the top certificated sites. New AA Grade – 5 or fewer Minors. A grade – 6 – 10 Minors. Also B, C and new D grade.
Unannounced audits have not changed.
New voluntary modules are being developed which will be audited at the same time as the BRC standard (additional time given). The aim of these is to reduce the number of separate audits. The voluntary module for Traded Goods has already been published.
Global Markets Programme
This replaces the Enrolment audits and is designed for smaller sites, or where all the requirements of the full standard are not appropriate. This is based on the GFSI Global Markets Programme. Sites can be audited to a Basic or Intermediate level. Basic ensures that food safety is adequately covered, intermediate adds product quality. The requirements for each level are taken from the main standard.
Full details are on the BRC Global Standards website.
A free copy of the standard can be downloaded here.
SGS can offer training to the standard and Global Markets Programme through our global network of BRC Approved Training Providers.
For more information, contact:
Global Food Certification Manager
SGS United Kingdom Limited
Unit 202B, Worle Parkway, Worle
Weston Super Mare, BS22 6WA United Kingdom
t: +44 1934 52 2917
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