BRC / BRC Issue 6 / General / Non Food Product Certification / Suppliers to the food industry

The BRC Global Conference and Food Safety Europe 2013

Food equipment and materials Certification Body HACCP International were delighted to be present as sponsor of the BRC (British Retail Consortium) Certification Body (CB) and Approved Training Provider (ATP) Global Conference and then as break-out session sponsor of the Food Safety Europe Conference that immediately followed. Here are some of the highlights of the conference:-

The CB and ATP conference is held yearly as the forum for discussing audit best practice, developments to, and the progress of The BRC Standards, within the world, as one of the benchmarked Global Food Safety Initiative Standards. The Standards continue to see strong uptake across all global markets with very nearly 20,000 certificated sites now operating, a growth of 10.3% from the previous year. This means that 20,000 food processors, consumer goods manufacturers, packaging manufacturers and storage & distribution companies are now signed up to the principle of playing their part to ensure food safety throughout the supply chain! And the BRC Standards certificates are accepted as proof of this compliance among a wide range of retailers and specifiers, assuring the safety of their suppliers, including quick service restaurant groups, manufacturers seeking 2nd tier raw material suppliers and major hotel brands globally.

A range of very interesting subjects were covered by the BRC Global Standards Team including CEO Mark Proctor, David Brackston, John Figgins, Tessa Kelly, AzinParsa, Jo Griffiths, Adam Burden, Karen Betts and Geoff Spriegel. Below is a summary snapshot of some of the most interesting facts and figures to emerge:-

Tessa provided an outline of growth of take up of the different standards. Growth of the BRC Storage and Distribution Standard, percentage wise, is strongest at 26.5%, up to 525 sites with year end growth projected as 40%, Growth of the Food Safety Standard remains strong at 5.2%, taking an already well established base up to 15,592 sites! Some of the biggest hot spots for growth are Canada, USA, UK, Spain, Italy, Poland, Turkey and China, with some of the key emerging hotspots being Vietnam, Turkey, South Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America. An interesting opinion to emerge within the food industry is an agreement that Tier 2 suppliers (food suppliers to other food manufacturers) should be certified.

AzinParsa showed us that there are now 194 approved training providers across 35 countries, with the UK, USA and Canada dominating, mostly being certification bodies but with a strategy to increase the number of independent ATP’s. To ensure that ATP’s maintain appropriate skills Azin informed the conference that an examination process is on the way for ATP’s.

Joanna Griffiths, in bringing us up to date with the Packaging Standard, was delighted to tell the conference that the BRC Packaging Standard is the first such standard to be GFSI benchmarked. An interesting bit of news is that Asda will require all Storage and Distribution facilities to be BRC certified by December 2014 and parent company Walmart, taking a similar line, requires all S&D facilities to operate to a GFSI benchmarked standard or, in the current absence of a GFSI benchmarked S&D Standard, to a Standard Owner operating another benchmarked standard such as BRC with its Global Food Safety and Packaging, benchmarked standards.

John Figgins started to bring Day 1 to a close with a look at the top ten BRC Global Food Safety Standard Issue 6 non conformances from audit. Here they are:-

 

  1. Section 2: Accuracy, information, review and amendment of the HACCP flow diagram.
  2. Section 4.4: Building fabric especially door policy, pest proofing and walls.
  3. Section 4.13: Pest control survey / in depth inspections
  4. Section 4.11.1: Housekeeping and hygiene – poor cleaning methodology and standards of cleaning.
  5. Section 1: Management commitment, objectives and scheduled meetings.
  6. Section 4.7: Maintenance schedules and post maintenance sign-off
  7. Section 4.8: Staff facilities – the standard and location of hand washing facilities and segregation of outdoor clothing
  8. Section 3.4: Internal audits schedule and the recording of non conformances with actions, to a meaningful timescale
  9. Section 4.9.3: Glass control – the accuracy of the glass register
  10. Section 3.9: Traceability systems – adequacy and rigorous testing

 

It is interesting to see how many come up from Section 4 – which supports the improved focus of audits to Issue 6 of The Standard on the facility, production controls and GMP.

David Brackston finished with some information concerning the timeline and consultation process leading to Issue 7 of the BRC Global Food Safety Standard. Ideas and feedback are being generated now, then in the first half of 2014 there will be working group discussions and consultation, in the latter half of 2014 the documents, guidance and training will be developed and then in July 2015 this new version of The Standard will “go live”!

During the last 2 days of the conference – Food Safety Europe 2013 – HACCP International presented a 90 minute workshop about the food safety risks and implications from non-food, that is, articles, equipment, materials and services used by the food industry. Clive Withinshaw and Richard Mallett presented data and information to a workshop of over 80 senior figures from certification bodies, food manufacture and retail culminating in a “have a go” risk assessment team table exercise that proved to be much fun! Great feedback was presented to both, in person, by the delegates immediately after this event and HACCP International now very much look forward to working with the BRC on a forthcoming webinar to discuss this issue further.

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