British Retail Consortium (BRC) Standard

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) was the result of the collaboration between some of the world’s leading food safety experts from retailers, manufacturers and food service companies. Over the past several years, the number of food safety incidents has demonstrated the need to enhance the area of foods safety. The global food economy necessitates the use of a common language in order to provide safe food for consumption.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) submitted a standard for benchmarking and became the first standard to be recognized as meeting the GFSI requirements. BRC is applicable to any food processing or packing operation where open food is handled, processed or packed including fresh produce packing houses, slaughter houses, canneries and other processed food manufacturers.


BRC Global Standard benefits

  • Comprehensive and focused on safety, legality and equality
  • Clear and detailed requirements based on HACCP principles
  • Standardized reporting format providing information on how sites meet the requirements of the standards
  • Closure of all non-conformities identified at an audit with evidence included in the report before certificates can be issued
  • Complementary with existing quality management systems, e.g. ISO and HACCP
  • Safe and efficient process flows in the interest of food safety, in order to quickly identify and control risks in respect of hygiene, quality, and health hazards for consumers, and to specify effective preventive measures

Outline of the BRC Standard:

  1. Senior Management Commitment and Continual Improvement: Factory senior management must be fully committed to standard’s application and continued development.
  2. The Food Safety Plan (HACCP): The basis for the Food Safety System is an effective HACCP program based on the requirements of the internationally recognized Codex Alimentarius system.
  3. Food Safety and Quality Management System: Requirements for the management of food safety and quality, building upon the principles of ISO 9001. This includes requirements for product specification, supplier approval, traceability and management of incidents/product recalls.
  4. Site Standards: Expectations for the processing environment (layout and maintenance of the buildings and equipment, cleaning, pest control and waste management).
  5. Product Control: Requirements at the product design and development stage, allergen management and the expectations of laboratories and product testing.
  6. Process Control: Establishment and maintenance of safe process controls, weight/volume control and equipment calibration.
  7. Personnel: Requirements for the training of staff and expectations on protective clothing and personnel hygiene.

The BRC Difference

The BRC Global Food Standard has no grading of the awards of basic or intermediate level. The numbers and type of non-conformity will, however, be indicated on the report. The organization receives a written report detailing both nonconformities and conformities. The organization’s responsible individuals need to close out all non-conformities within 28 days and demonstrate the status achieved to the auditor.

You can find more information on the BRC website.


BRC/IoP Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials

In light of food safety scares, there was a need to develop standards that would ensure the safety of food products manufactured and distributed throughout the world. A majority of the standards are focused specifically on the safety and quality of food processing while the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the Institute of Packaging (IoP) developed a specific standard that focuses directly on the packaging of food.

Benefits of Certification:

  • Assurance that legal requirements are met
  • Facilitates continuous improvement of quality, hygiene and product safety
  • Reduces the number of customer audits and the costs associated with them
  • Ensures suppliers are following good hygiene practices
  • Provides evidence of “due diligence” requirements of packaging manufacturer/supplier, packer/filler and retailer.

Requirements of the BRC IoP Standard:

  • Organization
  • Hazard and risk management system
  • Technical management system
  • Factory standards
  • Contamination control
  • Personnel

The BRC IoP Standard cover the following

  • Paper and board
  • Plastics
  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Wood

There are two risk categories with different requirements based on whether packaging is in direct food contact or not. The format of this standard defines a packaging supplier as belonging to a category ‘A’ or ‘B’. Category ‘A’ packaging is viewed as low risk packaging (from a food manufacturer’s viewpoint) such as cardboard boxes where the food product is already sealed within it’s primary packaging. This type of packaging does not come in contact with the food product itself. A decision tree within category ‘B’ packaging is defined as one which is used for direct food contact or enters an environment where there are unprotected or open food products. Examples of this type of packing include microwave trays or cups in which the food is directly packed.

Requirements for the management of food safety and quality build upon the principles of ISO 9001. This includes requirements for:

  • product specifications
  • supplier approval
  • traceability
  • management of incidents/product recalls

Food Safety Services offered by DQS Inc.:

  • Assessments
  • Gap Analyses
  • Customer-specific Assessment (Non-certification assessments)
  • Benchmarking with DQS Best
  • Training: Internal Auditor Training and Program Training