In 1998 the British Retail Consortium (BRC) developed and introduced the BRC technical standard and protocol for companies supplying retailer branded food products The first standard was the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety which is now at Issue 9.
The four other main BRCGS standards that have since been added are:
The purpose of these 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 identify reasonably foreseeable hazards and risk assess your process in order to implement the necessary control measures. Risk based thinking is the common theme running through all standards.
The number of BRCGS certified sites is a testament to the increased international popularity of the BRCGS standards. Currently there are approximately 22,000 in 130 countries with the USA being the area of the greatest growth. Achieving BRCGS Certification against the relevant BRCGS 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 BRCGS Certification against the relevant BRCGS 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.
BRCGS Storage and Distribution Issue 4 under section 1 Senior Management Commitment has introduced the need to develop a clear plan for the development of a product safety and quality culture. Culture assess the level of shared knowledge and common behaviour amongst a group of people so that all hazards in the business are understood and control measures established to reduce the risk to an acceptable level. Hazard and Risk Analysis focuses on the pre-requisite programme and defines specific issues to be addressed. The standard via its 19 specific sections provides a practical and logical approach to ensuring product safety and quality while within the supply chain system. Section 11, cross docking and Section 12 ecommerce are major new additions to the standard.
Ultimately the BRCGS Storage and Distribution standard has never been more aligned with the Food Safety Standard to ensure supply chain control from processor to retailer.