The BRC (British Retail Consortium) Global Standard for Food Safety was created to ensure supplier compliance and secure retailers’ ability to guarantee the quality and safety of the food products they sell. Today it is used worldwide as a framework for retailers and processors to assist with the production of safe food and the selection of reliable suppliers.
The BRC Global Standard for Food Safety is one of the operational tools most frequently used for due diligence and supplier approval. It helps companies select and qualify their suppliers. Thus, the system reduces the overall costs of supply chain management and increases the level of safety for customers, suppliers, and consumers. While regarded as a ticket-to-trade, BRC is also an excellent way to demonstrate your company’s commitment to food safety, quality, and legality, and to work on continual improvement.
BRC meets the criteria of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) by CIES, The Food Business Forum, a global organization including CEOs and senior management of around 400 retailers (operating close to 200,000 stores) and manufacturer members of all sizes. In other words it is going to be accepted by the majority of food retailers as equivalent to the other benchmarked food safety standards, such as IFS, SQF, and the Dutch HACCP.
What is the BRC Standard?
Retailers in the United Kingdom were concerned about food safety because of their direct responsibility in case of an incident. In order to take control of the situation, retailers now require that all food suppliers be certified to a specialized standard to ensure compliance with quality and safety demands, as well as legal requirements. After it was first issued in 1998, the BRC Standard was regularly improved, involving international stakeholders in the supply chain. Today it is a global tool based on the most recent and updated food safety standards and methodologies. Standard requirements are related to the quality management system and the HACCP system, and supported by detailed prerequisite programs: GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice), GLP (Good Laboratory Practice), and GHP (Good Hygiene Practice) requirements.
Why is BRC certification good for my business?
Most British and many European and Global retailers and brand owners, as well as food processors, only include suppliers certified to the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety in their supply chain. The BRC Global Standard for Food Safety enables your business to:
- Provide evidence of commitment, and, in case of a food safety incident, legal defense in the frame of the “due diligence” concept
- Build and operate a management system capable of helping you to better meet food quality/safety requirements and legal compliance, with specific reference to the legislation applicable in the countries where the finished product is consumed
- Provide a tool for food safety performance improvement and the means to monitor and measure food safety performance effectively
- Facilitate reductions in product waste, product reworking, and product recall
Certification to the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety also supports efficient supply chain management by reducing second party audits and increasing overall supply chain reliability.
How can I prepare for certification?
Companies that plan well will often have an advantage and be better prepared for certification. It is important that you and your business are positive, committed, and set clear target dates for implementation and assessment.
- Establishing a quality management system
- Identifying legal requirements
- Identifying and documenting the specific food safety hazards and relevant control measures (HACCP system)
- Identifying the applicable Good Manufacturing Practice/Good Hygiene Practice, including a pest control program, equipment and building maintenance program, housekeeping and cleaning program, and all the specific standard requirements
- Implementing any needed structural improvements