BRC Global Standards - Revisions

BRC Global Standard for Food Safety - Issue 7 

July 2015 saw the release of Issue 7 of this standard. While early indications showed that the new standard had a smooth introduction, the BRC Technical Advisory Committee did later announce a phased introduction of the new requirement to allow sites the time to fully comply. 

Supplier and raw material approval requirements for Issue 7 were strengthened by the introduction of the new clause Compliance to this clause requires those agents or brokers used to supply raw materials, to disclose the name of the manufacturer of a raw material supplied and to provide information enabling an assessment of the manufacturer's food safety systems. 

This issue is that manufacturers are raising considerable concern about situations where agents are unwilling to provide this information. Switching supplier before an Issue 7 audit may not be practical because of contractual arrangements and there have also been concerns about the ability of agents or brokers to even provide this information in time for the first audits to Issue 7. The BRC has already released additional support materials, including an interpretation guideline, for help and support on understanding the new clauses and all the changes including information on the new vulnerability assessment. Talk to your assessor about the new and changed elements of this standard and LRQA’s transition arrangements. 

BRC Agents and Brokers - Issue 1 

This standard was launched in 2014, and is well-received in the market place. Previously, agents or brokers that bought or sold products or provided services in the food and/or packaging supply chain could not gain BRC certification, as they do not have an auditable product. 

The standard allows organisations to now gain recognition for the systems they use to manage product safety in their supply chains. Agents and brokers are critical links in the movement and trade of products, therefore retailers, brand owners, raw material processors and packaging manufacturers need confidence in their supply chains as they are responsible for maintaining effective traceability and transparency. 

BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials - Issue 5 

Issue 5 of the BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials was released in July 2015, setting the latest benchmarks for best practice in packaging standards for major retailers, manufacturers and packaging businesses globally. 

The latest issue of this BRC Global Standard focuses on: 

  • A move from ‘good practice’ to ‘best practice’ 
  • The quality management systems process in printed packaging controls 
  • Continuing to ensure consistency of the audit process 
  • Providing a standard that meets retailers’ and brand owners’ needs to reduce the audit burden 
  • Better recognition of the diversity of the packaging industry and its customers’ demands 
  • Encouraging greater transparency and traceability in the supply chain 
  • Encouraging adoption of the standard as a means of improving product safety at small sites and facilities where processes are still in development 

As with the Food Safety standard, the BRC has also released a comprehensive set of support materials, including an Interpretation Guideline, Global Markets programme and an ‘Issue 4 to 5’ change summary document. 

Issue 4 will remain the audited standard until Issue 5 takes over in 2016. Issue 5 will be submitted for benchmarking against the GFSI benchmarking document to ensure it remains the basis of the world’s largest GFSI packaging certification scheme. 

BRC Global Standard for Storage and Distribution - Issue 2 

With more than 1,000 sites certified, the BRC Global Standards team has announced that this standard is set to be revised over the next two or so years. A public review period has started to canvas the market place to allow the BRC to implement changes and improvements for Issue 3. 

BRC envisages the Standard and Interpretation Guidelines being finished by the middle of 2016, with actual publication next autumn for first audits to start around spring 2017. These times are only approximate at this stage. 

BRC Global Standard for Consumer Products - Issue 3 

The BRC Global Standards team is currently consulting with existing users on Issue 3 to define the future scope and requirements, with the aim for an Issue 4 launch sometime in 2016. 

BRC Global Standard for Retailers 

The first meeting of the technical Working Group developing this BRC Global Standard was held in Toronto in June. The Working Group developed the basic programme scope and met again in September where they began work on developing requirements for this standard, in conjunction with retailers, retail associations and certification body experts.