What is BRC?

BRC | Global Food Safety Standard Explained


What is BRC, and what does it mean?

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) was founded in 1996 by the leadingUK retailers. They wanted to bring some standardisation to the auditing of food manufacturers in their supply base – issue 1 of the food safety standard was issued at this time.

The BRC recently rebranded themselves and now they stand for Brand Reputation through Compliance. This change is in recognition that the standard now has a global reach.

In addition to the Food Safety standard, there are other standards covering:

  • Storage and Distribution
  • Agents and Brokers
  • Consumer Goods and Packaging Materials

More recently, the BRC has introduced optional modules to to enhance food safety and compliance further. These include Gluten-Free and Plant-Based manufacture.

Why is BRC important?

The BRC is a globally recognised standard for food safety. All food manufacturers will aim to achieve certification to this as a minimum. They will also use this standard as a vital tool in their supplier approval programmes.

What are the benefits?

A company with BRC certification most importantly demonstrates immediately they are manufacturing product safely and legally. This, in turn, enables the company to engage commercially with prospective customers, who know that with little further checking the manufacturer is credible.

What does the standard cover?

The food safety standard is split into nine sections:

  • Senior Management Commitment
  • The Food Safety Plan (HACCP)
  • Food Safety and Quality Management System
  • Site Standards
  • Product Control
  • Process Control
  • Personnel
  • High-Risk, High-Care, Ambient High-Care Production Risk Zone
  • Requirements for Traded Products

Sections 1 to 7 apply to all manufacturers, with parts 8 and 9 being optional dependant on the manufacturing activity.

What’s the latest version?

The latest version of the standard for food safety is version 8. This came into force in February 2019. The main changes in these standards were around senior management commitment, food defence and product authenticity.

What is the difference between SQF and BRC and is GFSI the same as BRC?

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) doesn’t offer certification but are an organisation that benchmarks various standards.

You will often see statements like “BRC or GFSI equivalent.”

In addition to BRC for food safety, some other standards that meet this benchmark are:

  • SQF (Safe Quality Food)
  • FSSC 22000
  • International Food Standard

All these standards offer standalone certification but are deemed equivalent through the GFSI scheme.

Need Help With BRC Accreditation?

Is your business looking to achieve or maintain the documented systems required for certification to BRC Global Standards for Food, Packaging or Storage & Distribution?

Envesca can offer gap analysis and expert support to meet these standards prior to and during the certification process.

To discuss how we can help you, call us on 01452 502113 or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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