Food safety is never static. It’s not like achieving some specific milestone, such as crossing the finish line of a marathon.
It takes commitment to continuous improvement, a food safety culture, and everyone in the food supply chain collaborating to control and prevent risk. The BRC Global Standard for Food Safety is the latest Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) certification to update its program.
A Little Background
The BRC Standard launched in the United Kingdom in 1998 to help the food industry meet the legislative requirements of the European Union General Product Safety Directive and the UK Food Safety Act. Since then, the standard has received global recognition with more than 26,000 certified sites across 130 countries. The standard was later accepted as a GFSI-recognized certification program when GFSI formed in 2000.
GFSI benchmarks establish equivalency between the various food safety standards while allowing the flexibility necessary to meet multiple segments’ needs in the global food supply chain. GFSI regularly updates its Benchmarking Requirements to strengthen standards and increase transparency. In turn, GFSI-recognized food safety certification programs like BRC must continually update its program requirements and publish a new code every few years.
Chain, Chain, Change
The requirements of Issue 8 are an evolution from previous installments with a continued emphasis on management commitment, a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)-based food safety program, and a supporting quality management system.
The ongoing objective has been to direct the audit’s focus toward implementing good manufacturing practices within the production areas with additional emphasis on areas that have traditionally resulted in recalls and withdrawals, such as label and packing management.
Critical changes to BRC Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 8 include:
Encouraging the development of product safety culture.
Expanding the requirements for environmental monitoring to reflect the increasing importance of this technique.
Encouraging sites to further develop systems for security and food defense.
Clarifying the requirements for high-risk, high-care, and ambient high-care production risk zones.
Establishing a new approach to the audit process and audit reporting with a greater focus on factory operations and management commitment.
Ensuring global applicability and benchmarking to the Global Food Safety Initiative.
BRC also added new material, including:
Section 8: This addresses “high-risk, high care and ambient high care facilities” and consolidates components of Sections 4 through 7. Sites now will be expected to demonstrate that production facilities and controls are suitable to avert pathogen contamination.
Section 9: This section now requires companies to implement procedures for approval to guarantee “food products are safe, comply with legal requirements, and manufactured per product specifications.”
Issue 8 also includes pet food procedures, the integration of a whistleblower protocol, and cybersecurity clauses.
You can download a free copy of Issue 8 here, but don’t try to handle this massive transition on your own.
TraceGains hosted a free webinar, “BRC Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 8 Key Changes,” to help you get up to speed. Speakers included our in-house expert and director of strategic partnerships, Dana Johnson Downing, who explained how technology eases compliance with BRC and simplifies conversion from BRC 7 to BRC 8. Guest speakers included Kathleen Wybourn, DNV GL North America Food & Beverage Director, and John Kukoly, BRC Director Americas.
Watch the webinar recording.