Manage your risk and build confidence in your products with certification to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Standard for Food Safety. BRC certification meets the GFSI compliance requirements for suppliers to major retailers, brand owners and manufacturers, and is especially suited for companies exporting to Europe.
The BRC standard describes three levels of involvement:
For factories where food safety is still developing. This program allows recognition of improvements in food safety by providing a scored audit for sites that are not ready for certification. The audit reports and scores can be shared with customers and are intended to enable sites to develop within a framework that will eventually enable full certification.
For existing certificated sites. This is the same audit process used for sites within the enrollment program. Successful sites are awarded a certificate with the grade A, B or C, depending on the number and type of non-conformities identified.
This voluntary program provides added confidence in certification to customers and creates marketing benefits when the top BRC grade of A+ is achieved. Available to factories with mature food safety systems that are currently awarded a certification Grade A+, A, B+ or B. Two options are available for an unannounced program. Option 1 involves a facility walk-through and verification of good manufacturing practices (GMPs). Option 2 requires two separate on-site audits: Part 1 involves a walk-through and verification of GMPs, while Part 2 involves review of documented systems, procedures and records.
Visit the BRC Bookstore to purchase Issue 6
Visit the BRC Bookstore to purchase this Guideline
SCS guidance for becoming BRC certified
BRC certification is relevant to any food processing or packing operation in which food is handled, processed, packed, stored or distributed, including:
BRC certification criteria address the following seven areas:
Issue 6 came into effect in early 2012. Issue 5 can no longer be used for audits.
SCS can walk you through a pre-assessment process. Pre-assessment is a non-scored mock audit designed to assess the level of your preparedness for a certification audit. Ask about combining a pre-assessment with your initial audit for greater efficiency.
In addition to BRC audits, we offer a full suite of food safety and food quality testing. Combine BRC Certification with Organic Certification, Certified Sustainably Grown, and other options for added operational and cost efficiency.
Purchase the Standard
To fully assess your level of compliance to BRC Standards, order the standard from the BRC Global Standards Bookshop. The BRC standard is not available for free review. The BRC has also published guidance documents on best practices and on the use of the standards.
Apply for Auditing
Fill out an SCS Application form, which provides details of your site and operation. SCS returns a proposal for your approval with a suggested scope of work, timeline and quote. To initiate the certification process, return a signed proposal and Work Order.
Review your current systems and practices against the requirements of the BRC Standard in order to identify areas which may need further work before undertaking a full audit. Consider undertaking a pre-assessment with SCS or use the BRC developed Self-Assessment Tool.
Schedule an Audit
SCS assigns an auditor and audit dates are proposed. Once an audit date is confirmed, an audit plan is provided to ensure that your team is prepared.
An on-site audit of your operation is carried out to ensure that your operation complies with the BRC Standard. After completion, the SCS auditor provides you with an Audit Report, which lists any non-conformities. You can discuss these findings and ask questions with the auditor at the closing meeting.
Complete Corrective Actions
Identified non-conformities must be addressed and evidence of corrective actions provided to SCS within 28 days. In some circumstances it may be necessary for the auditor to return to the site to check that appropriate corrective action has been taken.
Make Certification Decision
SCS reviews the Audit Report and Corrective Action documentation to make a certification decision.
For those who achieve certification, a final audit report and certificate is issued within 42 days of the original audit date. A copy of the report is automatically sent to the BRC, and your company is listed in the online BRC Directory.
Note: It is a principle of the BRC scheme that the audit report is owned by the company paying for the audit. Copies can only be provided to other parties at the request of the owner (a copy is provided to the BRC and this is held confidentially).
SCS Global Services is an IHA Accredited HACCP Training center, offering on-site courses, webinars and customized trainings throughout the year in North America and Central America. Our expert trainers can tailor their curricula to meet your needs.
Earning BRC certification provides several potential advantages:
Food safety does not stand still. New risks, legislation and practices to improve food safety emerge so as a matter of principle and in line with GFSI benchmarking requirements the BRC Standards need to be periodically reviewed and updated. The most significant changes in issue 6 are around the audit options and methods of audit. However the new issue also includes more specific requirements on aspects of best practice to ensure consistency.
Yes. Whenever there is a change from one issue of the standard to the next the existing certificates remain valid and acceptable to customers up until that certificate expires.
No. The BRC introduced a new audit duration calculator at the beginning of 2011 which increased the typical audit duration from 1.5 days to 2 days. We do not expect current audits to result in longer total time for the audit, although we do expect more time to be spent in the factory and less time auditing paperwork. The audit duration calculator has been updated for the current issue to show the distribution of time expected between the factory and the office parts of the audit.
Your company will need to prepare and supply SCS with background information prior to the audit, including:
Typical audit duration is two days at the site. The exact time expected to undertake the audit is calculated based on: the number of employees (full time, including seasonal), the size of the manufacturing facility (including storage facilities), the number of HACCP studies included within scope, the complexity of the manufacturing process, the number of product lines, and other considerations.