In 1998 the British Retail Consortium (BRC) developed and introduced the BRC technical standard and protocol for companies supplying retailer branded products.
- BRC Global Standard for Food Safety. The current standard was published in August 2018.
BRC Food Safety Issue 8: Time Lines
- January 2018 – Standards wording finalised
- August 2018 – Standard published
- February 2019 – Audit commences
Four other BRC Standards have since been added:
- BRC Global Standard for Packaging & Packaging Materials, Issue 5.
- BRC Global Standard for Storage and Distribution, Issue 3.
- BRC Global Standard for Consumer Products, Issue 4.
- BRC Global Standard for Agents & Brokers, Issue 2.
The redesign of BRC Global Food Safety Standard Issue 8 is quite radical in that there are now nine sections to the standard. The USA influence on the standard is becoming more pronounced particularly in Section two and the three PCs defined in FSMA.
The previous seven issues of the BRC Food Safety Standards have brought Food Business Operators a long way on their food safety journey by prescribing what to do in order to supply the British retailers. This cannot go on forever so less prescriptive concepts such as Culture, Risk-based Decision Making, Validation Protocols, Challenge Studies and Modelling are now being promoted.
A pro-active, positive culture within a company can make all the difference in the effectiveness of the Food Safety & Quality Plan. Culture can be challenging as it relies not just on measureables and specifics but on ethos and values. Good culture is also expressed through the ease of movement of information between different levels of the company. Within any culture there must be the requirement for openness, confidential reporting systems (whistle blowing) are another element of this.
In section two of the standard the wording has been amended to reflect the FSMAs regulation in the USA. Food Business Operators are not required to use the specific terminology of the standard, but the expectation is that the requirements of the standard will be fully met.
The use of environmental monitoring techniques within a Food Business is an under-valued tool for identifying potential product contamination risks. Issue 8 has been extensively expanded to encourage sites to develop rigorous monitoring programmes.
The need for companies to have rigorous product security and food defence systems to prevent malicious contamination has gained renewed understanding since the publication of issue 7. This has resulted in a major revision of section 4.2