Monday, September 10, 2012

BRC Food Version 6

Global Standards

Here we will be discussing about the new version of BRC Global Food Standard version 6 which came in to pratice by the start of this year. Before analysing the version 6 we can have a brief look on BRC Global Standards and British Retail Consortium. BRC Global standards was first started in the year 1992 in United Kingdom when British Retailers Association and Retail Consortium merged together. In 1998, BRC, responding to industry needs, developed and introduced the BRC Food Technical Standard to be used to evaluate manufactures of retailers own brand food products. In a short span of time this standard has become an essential benchmark for quality and best practice in food industry. Then BRC started to issue the Global Technical Food Standard. Following the success of Global Food Standards BRC published Packaging Standard in 2002, followed by Consumer Products Standard in 2003 and finally Storage and Distribution standard in 2006.

BRC Food Key elements

BRC standards are approved by GFSI- Global Food Safety Initiative. We have discussed already about GFSI in the article last week- IFS Version 6. In brief GFSI was launched as a non-profit making foundation in 2000, to achieve harmonisation of food safety standards that would drive reduce audit duplication throughout the supply chain. Now, GFSI is more than a benchmarking committee managed by the industry driven directors of GFSI board members. 

In general BRC food standard is a third party certification through audit and independent review by the certification bodies. The certification process is simple. The company register to the BRC global standard organisation and receives the certificate from them. The company is allowed to choose the certification body to for audit and review. The certification bodies report to BRC organisation through national accredation bodies in every country.The main scope of BRC food standard is to maintain the food safety and quality through which the manufactures can demostrate their compliance on food quality. BRC food standard is credible with GFSI approval; consistent and cost effective. The basic structure of BRC Food starts with senior management commitment and continuous improvement which is not properly managed as per the data we receive. In the second part BRC has the food safety plan and HACCP followed by internal audits. Some of the important sections of the BRC includes corrective actions, traceability, product flow, hygien practices, GMO and allergens. 

Audit is usually announced like IFS but BRC includes unannouced audits also. Audit duration 2 days and interval is once in a year. There are four types of non-confirmities. Fundamental non-confirmities have to be satisfied such as corrective actions, traceability, product flow, hygiene practices, GMO etc., Failing to meet one or more fundamental requirement make the company unfit for the certification. The grades of the certificate starts from A+ and ends in C. From A+ to B, the reaudit is done after 1 year while after B grade reaudit should be done in the next six months. 

BRC Food Version 6

So we were talking about general BRC Food and now we have the version 6 with us. What is new in version 6 of BRC Food and what are the main changes from BRC Food version 5? The scope of the Standard remains the same, however there is more focus on Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). Maintaining good and constantly improving standards of Food Safety and due diligence requires documented procedures and processes to ensure the consistency of working methods and provide information to identify areas for improvement. The implementation of the procedures within the factory, staff training, supervision, working practices, factory hygiene and working conditions directly affect the product safety and quality. For Issue 6 auditors will spend much more time in factory processing areas holding discussions with production staff, following audit trails, observing product changeover procedures, etc. Requirements covering foreign body control, allergens, hygiene and housekeeping have been expanded.

Unannouced audits is explained clearly in the version 6 of BRC. There are two options of unannounced audits. One for full unannouced audits and other one is partly unannounced only the audit of GMP and GHP. Audit of records and documents are annouced with option 2 to make sure the presence of authorities in the company helping the auditor with necessary documents. Also the A+ highest grade is available only for unannouced audits and for announced audits A is the highest grade of certification.

Factored goods -goods which are not manufactured or only part processed) are not included in the scope of this new version. Enrolment scheme is available for those who have not certified with version 5 of BRC Food.  Also certain notable changes includes

  • demonstration of the use of all the process-even metal detectors
  • inspections with internal audits
  • audit to outsourced process
  • actual site plan available
  • high care for high risk areas
  • Filtered air and water distribution systems
  • corrective actions for building work
  • optical sorting
  • Container cleanliness
  • validation of HACCP before introduction to the factory
  • Allergen test
  • Classified risk areas in the factory
  • strong personal hygiene of the workers
Download the documents to compares BRC food Version 5 with version 6 


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