BRC Global Standard for Food Safety - What is it?
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) Technical Standard for Companies Supplying Retailer Branded Food Products was developed in 1998 to provide a common standard for companies supplying retailer branded food products. The BRC Technical Standard was developed by UK supermarket retailers to assist them in their fulfilment of legal obligations and protection of the consumer. In March 2003 the standard was renamed the BRC Global Standard - Food although it is still commonly referred to as 'BRC Accreditation'.
What does the standard require?
· The adoption and implementation of HACCP
· A documented and effective quality management system
· Control of factory environment standards, product, process and personnel.
The standard contains a number of 'fundamental, requirements which must be well established, continuously maintained and monitored by the company.
The standard is recognised by the majority of UK supermarket retailers, and is being increasingly used by food service companies to approve suppliers. The BRC standard was originally designed for manufacturers supplying own label products. It has also been used as a basis of supplier approval even when a company is supplying branded products only and in many instances it can be a pre-condition to supply certain companies. Food manufacturers are also using this standard as a basis of supplier approval.
There are BRC certificated companies in many countries in the EU and as far away from the UK as Canada, Brazil and Thailand. The latest version is issue 7.
One of its initial advantages was that it could reduce the number of food safety audits by each retailer and allow technologists to concentrate on other areas, such as product development, or specific quality issues. In practice, supermarkets may also insist on their own audits, particularly for high risk suppliers, or they may apply other codes of best practice in addition to the BRC standard. There is also a separate technical standard for companies manufacturing and supplying food packaging materials for retailer branded products.
There is also a BRC Standard for Companies Manufacturing and Supplying Food Packaging Materials for Retailer Branded Food Products which was developed to provide a common standard for companies supplying packaging for food products.
The German equivalent of the BRC have developed their own standard called the IFS Standard. This has also been adopted by the French retailers and is expected to be adopted by other countries.
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