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25 May 2017
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Overview of BRC Global Standards for Food Safety

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Posted By Jorge B.

Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)

The Global Standard for Food Safety was the first standard to be approved by the GFSI as part of their process for mutual recognition of food safety standards and continues to be the most widely used of the GFSI standards with over 10,000 certificated sites worldwide. Under the global standard entire food and related industry is divided in 4 parts and standards are published by BRC as below.

The Global Standard for Food

The global standard for food issue 6 was released by BRC in 2011.

The Global Standard for Food Safety was first developed in 1998 by the food service industry to enable suppliers to be audited by third party Certification Bodies against a single consistent standard, reducing duplication of effort and enabling the retail industry to focus activities on areas of competitive advantage. Built on the principles of clear risk based requirements, informative report format and auditor competence, the Standard has continued to develop and evolve with input from a wider base of international stakeholders including retailers, caterers, food manufacturers and Certification Bodies.

The Standard is closely managed by the BRC who license the use of the Standard to Certification Bodies who must be both accredited by their national Accreditation Body and abide by strict BRC requirements for auditor competency, reporting and performance.

The latest edition features a number of innovations, including:

* Optional unannounced audits have been introduced for companies gaining certification grade A or B
* More guidance on implementing HACCP based on Codex Alimentations principles
* Greater emphasis on senior management demonstrating their commitment to the aim of achieving product quality and safety and to ensuring corrective action for non-conformities is undertaken
* Expanded sections on issues of major importance, such as allergens and identity preserved materials, laboratory management, and physical and chemical contamination control
* A more rigorous grading system for grades B, C and D has been introduced with a re-visit by the Certification Body required within 28 days to verify corrective actions for grade C as well as audit frequency reduced to 6 months
* Revision of product categories that focus on product technologies that are now cross referenced with fields of audit pertinent to auditor requirements
* A new section has been introduced on site security requiring controlled access and training of staff, secure storage of materials and registration and approval of premises.

The Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials

Originally created to establish a Standard for the suppliers of packaging and packaging materials for the food industry, this Standard is now a leading global Standard adopted by major retailers, manufacturers and packaging businesses around the world and is equally applicable to non-food packaging producers. Certification to the Standard verifies technical performance, aids manufacturers' fulfillment of legal obligations and helps provide protection to the consumer.

The latest edition features a number of innovations, including:

* Extended scope to cover non-food packaging producers
* The audit frequency established at 12 month intervals, with 6 months for suppliers receiving 3 or more major non-conformities
* Requirements for auditors included in the Standard to allow companies to verify auditor qualifications
* Greater emphasis on senior management demonstrating their commitment to the aim of achieving product quality and safety and to ensuring that corrective action for non-conformities is undertaken
* Hazard and risk management has been comprehensively reviewed to provide greater guidance to certification bodies and producers
* Expanded sections on issues of major importance, such as site security, product design and development and control of In-line testing equipment

The Global Standard for Consumer Products

Meeting the requirements of the 'BRC Global Standard - Consumer Products: Issue 2' ensures best practice standards are developed, implemented and maintained for manufacturers and assembly packers of consumer products.

Manufacturing and assembly packing companies can be certified against this Standard to demonstrate their competence in maintaining product safety, legality and integrity.

The requirements in the Standard are designed to:

* Satisfy the legal requirement to demonstrate compliance with EU General Product Safety Directive 2005 and 'due diligence'
* The supplier assesses their product risk using the guidelines supplied in the Standard. The product level is then verified by a Certification Body and/or customer. The supplier is evaluated against the requirements for that risk level. This is a unique concept in Standards.
* The Standard has been written to address the requirements in relation to potential of the product to cause harm to the Consumer
* The product risk has been categorized into four levels. Levels are based on product risk to the consumer and each has its own unique set of requirements
* Recommendations have been removed completely or incorporated into the requirements
* For ease of use each set of requirements is held in a different chapter in the Standard. This approach makes the certification process easier for both manufacturers and certification bodies. This is the only Standard of its type.

The Standard is applicable to the manufacture of a great many non-food products including greetings cards, DIY products (e.g. paints, power tools, nails and hammers), home wares, white goods, and non-prescription pharmaceuticals.

The Global Standard for Storage and Distribution

Meeting the requirements of the BRC Storage and Distribution Standard ensures best practice standards are developed, implemented and maintained for any organization involved in the storage and/or distribution of goods.

Storage and distributor companies can be certified against this Standard to demonstrate their competence in maintaining product safety and integrity. The Standard is equally relevant to companies storing and/or distributing food, consumer goods and packaging. This Standard is applicable to all forms of transportation.

Storage and distribution is the link between all stages of the product supply chain and retail. The introduction and the implementation of this Standard represent the efforts made to ensure product safety and integrity through the supply chain.

The Standard contains separate modules for the different sectors within the supply chain, namely storage, distribution, wholesaling and contracted specialist services offered by storage companies such as:

* Product Inspection/Sorting
* Contract Packing (Repacking, Assembly Packing)
* Quantity Control Inspection
* Contract Chilling/Freezing/Defrost Operations

EU Regulations (No. 178/2002, No. 852/2004) legally oblige food storage and distribution companies to ensure systems are in place to supply safe and legal products.

Comments (4)

By Alexis B. on MAY 29 2017 @ 11:06AM

I wonder if this will help to guarantee the safety of all the Chinese chicken that's about to enter our freezer sections. They say it was a bargaining concession to open them up to our beef sellers.

By Ken H. on MAY 28 2017 @ 8:13PM

Never can be too safe when it comes to food.

By Anthony G. on MAY 26 2017 @ 6:20PM

I saw a picture of a mouse in a soda can, is that even possible?

By Danny W. on MAY 26 2017 @ 11:16AM

Good to know that there are some kind of standards that apply to all countries, and not just to our own.

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