On August 1, 2018, BRC published a new version of its Food Safety Standard. After a transition phase of six months, the BRC Food Standard Issue 8 will replace Issue 7. To prepare you for the new version, we have outlined the most important changes below.
According to BRC, the new issue has consolidated key themes including ensuring global applicability and benchmarking to the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), encouraging the development of a food safety culture and expanding the requirements for environmental monitoring. Alongside these areas of focus are the addition of new sections and clauses, which we have summarized for you below.
- Section 8: High Risk, High Care and Ambient High Care Requirements
The requirements for production facilities who fall into the high risk, high care and ambient high care categories have been centralized and are now found in section 8. Sites are expected to demonstrate that production facilities and controls are suitable to prevent pathogen contamination of products. These clauses, previously found under section 4 and 7, need to be fulfilled in addition to all relevant requirements in sections 1 – 7.
- Section 9: Requirements of the traded goods – voluntary module
This module has been incorporated as a separate section and requires the organization to operate procedures for approval to ensure that food products are safe, comply with legal requirements and are manufactured in accordance with product specifications. In a stark difference to Issue 7, any non-conformities assigned against this module will now be included in the overall grade.
- The integration of Pet Food
Found under section 5 (Clauses 5.1.5 – 5.1.7), pet food has been integrated and defined to assist manufacturers. This encompasses the procedures when dealing with products for various animal species and ensuring that products are designed for their intended use (complete diet or complementary product). Medicated food needs to be precisely labeled, materials need to be clearly identifiable and involve mechanisms to ensure that the correct concentrations are used.
- Whistleblower system
It is now fundamental that a whistleblower system be integrated to ensure all concerns regarding product safety, integrity, quality and legality to senior management can be reported and handled confidentially. The method (e-mail, hotline number etc.) needs to be clearly communicated to employees. A process to handle concerns raised needs to be implemented and documented. This ties in particularly well with BRCs newly released whistleblower hotline.
- The addition of Cyber Security Clauses
Under section 3, clause 3.11.1 it is a requirement that organizations implement procedures to document and handle cyber attacks or the failure of their internet security. As this topic becomes increasingly more relevant, it brings BRC Food in line with other standards and principles.
It has become apparent, that the time between the audit and the release of the report and certificate is a big concern for key stakeholders. BRC has established a new protocol to combat these concerns, including:
- An ‘interim’ report should be made available on the BRC Directory within 10 days
- Contents are limited to the audit date, audit scope and any non-conformaties
- The final report timeline of 42 days remains the same
According to BRC, it is clear that many sites are not effectively scheduling internal audits throughout the year, which is evident by the non-conformities being raised. To combat this, clause 3.4.1 has been amended to ensure that safety management systems are being assessed at regular intervals. This means at least 4 audit dates per year.
What to expect from an Issue 8 audit
What is the timeline for the transition?
According to the information released, we can expect the following timeline for BRC Food 8.
- August 2018 – Standard published
- September 2018 – Approved training partner training
- October 2018 – Auditor and site training begins
- February 2019 – Audits commence: all audits will now be conducted in accordance with Issue 8. Prior to this date, Issue 7 remains mandatory.
Where can I find the BRC Global Food Safety Standard Issue 8?
The standard is available free of charge from the BRC Bookshop. Click here to download a copy.
How can DQS assist you on your way towards BRC compliance?
- In-House workshops are available upon request.
- Certify your company against BRC Food with external audits and gap assessments
- We have highly skilled auditors available globally. Click here to find your local DQS office and get in touch about upcoming workshops.