BRC7 – what it means for you and your business

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) published the seventh issue of its internationally recognised BRC Global Standard for Food Safety on 7 January 2015. With audits against Issue 7 commencing in July 2015, the revised BRC Global Standards for Food Safety is the hot topic of conversation.

With clarification, additions and the natural evolution from the previous version, there are significantly tighter controls for the food and beverage industry.

The main changes you need to be aware of are:

Labelling Control

With product recalls relating back to incorrect labelling, the BRC has aimed to emphasize the importance of this subject. The requirements are not new however the focus and consequences have evolved.

Supplier Management

Effective supplier approval and monitoring systems must be in place to avoid risks. Certification against BRC Agents and Brokers is compulsory for procurements from Brokers, IFS Broker may no longer be considered sufficient.

Traceability

Certified sites must not only maintain their own traceability systems, they must also ensure that their suppliers have an effective traceability system in place as well.

Authenticity

An assessment is expected to be carried out on all raw materials to assess the potential risk of adulteration and to prevent food fraud.

Extended Risk Zone Concept

In addition to the high risk and high care zones for frozen and chilled products, a new risk category will be introduced with high care requirements for ambient products.

Customer Requirements and Communication

Appropriate evidence must be maintained by all companies to clearly communicate its customers’ requirements to relevant suppliers of products and services.

Additional Voluntary Module

The BRC’s optional modules are constantly evolving. Examples include the additional module for distribution of finished products, the Food Defence Module and the module for the use of food for animal feed.

Evaluation System

With auditing being introduced, BRC7 encompasses new grading systems with narrower bands for no-conformities. A new grade of AA+ it is the latest in benchmarking for best practice within the food manufacturing process.

To appease concerns raised over conforming to these standards in time, for the first audits the BRC has decided to have a phased introduction, this means that ‘The site shall demonstrate that as a minimum all Agents or Brokers supplying raw materials have been contacted and requested to provide the details of the manufacturer or manufacturers of the raw materials supplied and the necessary information to allow supplier approval according to the sites risk assessment.’ (BRC Clause 3.5.1.3 issue 7)

Full supply chain transparency and traceability is now the expected ‘norm’ with stricter controls on supplier selection, approval and monitoring throughout the supply chain process.

Ingredient provenance and authenticity has had a large refocus, not only to battle against food fraud in the industry, but to help build and maintain the reputation of the whole industry.

Having access to real time information and data means you will not be caught out by any changes to product information in your food supply chain, making conforming to the BRC7 standards and future legislation changes that much easier. Offering a collaborative web-based solution to your supply chain management, Pyramid can be the answer to conforming to these requirements.

Full supply chain transparency and traceability is now the expected ‘norm’ with stricter controls on supplier selection, approval and monitoring throughout the supply chain process.

Posted by: Authenticate 01/05/2015