In 1998 the British Retail Consortium (BRC) developed and introduced the BRC technical standard and protocol for companies supplying retailer branded products.
Four other BRC Standards have since been added:
The purpose of the five standards is to ensure that all retailer branded food/consumer items are manufactured, packaged and distributed according to a defined set of guidelines and procedures ensuring product safety and consumer confidence. The common theme in all standards is the need to risk assess your process in order to identify the necessary control measures.
The number of BRC certified sites is a testament to the increased international popularity of the BRC standards. Currently there are almost 21,000 certified sites in 90 countries with the USA being the area of greatest growth. Achieving BRC Certification against the relevant BRC standard is an essential component of any business’s strategy for business continuity.
Regardless of which end of the food/product supply chain a business operates, due diligence is one of the most essential elements of business continuity. Achieving BRC Certification against the relevant BRC standard not only allows companies demonstrate due diligence, it also opens business opportunities with the most powerful sector in the supply chain, the retailer. The first step to achieving certification is to learn and understand your relevant standard.
BRC Issue 7 was published in January 2015 and came into effect July 1st 2015. The standard has been written with a “back to basics philosophy” with a distinct focus on Hazard Control plus the addition of two extra fundamental clauses to deal with supplier approval, product integrity and labelling.
New subclauses in Section 3.5 Supplier Approval, focus on products sourced via agents and brokers and the need to identify the last manufacturer or packer. Section 3.9 traceability has also been enhanced with regards to traceability and integrity of raw material supply. Section 4.3 product flow and segregation has had significant modifications made again in an effort to enhance production protection and segregation measures. This has led to the introduction of a new product Risk Zone, Ambient High Care. Ambient High Care may seem like a contradiction in terms however this new inclusion has been made in response to a number of high profile food poisoning incidents particularly in the USA.Collapse