BRC Food Standard Certification
Due to the increasing sales volumes generated by retailer brand private label products, the world’s major large-scale distribution chains have deemed it necessary to take up new obligations and responsibilities towards consumers.
As a consequence, distribution chains have begun to devise adequate measures to prevent accidents across the entire process from food production to distribution, monitoring the technical performance of suppliers’ production sites either through a dedicated internal department or third-party organizations.
The BRC standard is globally recognized as it is approved by GFSI - Global Food Safety Initiative; only EN 45011-accredited product certification bodies such as TÜV Italia may perform BRC standard verifications.
BRC FOOD certification applies to any food processing company working with large-scale retailers in the UK and is normally a necessary requirement for exporting products.
Our services at a glance
The BRC standard requires the following:
- the adoption of a HACCP system according to the principles of the Codex Alimentarius;
- the adoption of a documented quality management system;
- controls on production environment, products, process and personnel
On January 1st2012 issue 6 of the BRC FOOD Standard came into effect introducing significant changes over the previous version.
The main objective of the new issue was to extend the scope of the regulation, provide opportunities to differentiate site performance and increase audit effectiveness; in terms of standard requirements, the review focused on clarifying and simplifying existing ones rather than introducing major changes.
Growing emphasis on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)
The preservation of good practices and the continuous improvements in food safety and due diligence require well-documented procedures and processes in order to ensure consistency in working methods and collect information to identify optimization areas. The implementation of procedures at production sites, personnel training, work practices, hygiene and factory working conditions all have a significant impact on safety and product quality.
The new edition of the standard aims to balance the auditing process by increasing the amount of time auditors are required to spend inside the processing areas through:
- a two-stage audit checklist;
- an increase in the number of requirements concerning good manufacturing practices in relation to those concerning system documentation;
- a new audit report that can be filled in in a shorter time;
- audit standardization through auditor training material;
- an increase in the requirements concerning foreign body control, hygiene and housekeeping and allergens.
The use of unannounced audits is becoming increasingly common in some markets and is seen as providing a greater challenge and more realistic site assessment.
The new version of the standard offers two options for unannounced audits:
- option 1 – full unannounced audit (similar to issue 5);
- option 2 – the audit is carried out in two parts:
- Part 1 unannounced audit - largely based on factory operations and good manufacturing practice, carried out in advance of the due date;
- Part 2 - planned audit - based largely on a review of documented systems, procedures and records carried out at the usual audit due date
The increased emphasis on Good Manufacturing Practices combined with the approach and realism of the unannounced element will increase customer confidence in the audit and the value of the certificate thus obtained.
The audit report and company scorecard will be available on the private area of the BRC Directory in order to enable companies to share results with their customers.
Prior to issuing the certificate, TÜV Italia performs the following actions:
- management of any deficiencies found (implementation schedule and methods, verification of closure if required);
- final resolution by the TÜV Italia Approval Committee.
The certificate can be graded A, B or C, according to the number of major and minor non-conformities observed during the inspection.
Validity of certification
The validity of the certificate varies according to the grade obtained. TÜV Italia’s three-yearly contract includes periodical inspections according to the grade attained, either on a 6-month (grade C) or 12-month (grade A and B) basis.