What’s new? BRCGS Packaging Materials – Issue 6

Constanze Illner Food Safety & Hygiene, News, Revisions

Update: January 2020

From February 2020, BRCGS Packaging Materials Standard Issue 6 will be mandatory. Certified sites will have to implement some essential changes that we summarized in the following.

The new BRCGS Packaging Materials – Issue 6 includes five major changes: two key changes concerning the protocol and three key changes regarding the requirements of the former Packaging and Packaging materials – Issue 5 certification.

Changes to the Protocol

  1. Removing the second hygiene category
    In Issue 5 there were two categories of requirements, depending on the intended use of the packaging material – high hygiene and basic hygiene. Removing the two-category system simplifies the use of the new standard. The differing hygiene levels will be replaced by a risk-based approach, based on only one set of requirements. Some requirements will have a higher or differing level of hygiene that applies to “food contact materials”.
  1. Removing second/split unannounced audit option
    Version 5 of the BRCGS Global Standard for Packaging offered three audit options: Full announced audit, full unannounced audit, and split unannounced audit. The last one divided the audit requirements into two separate audits, the first one unannounced and the second one announced. Reflecting that the full unannounced audit option is generally preferred because it gives extra confidence to specifiers, Issue 6 will be in line with Issue 8 of the Food Standard by removing the split unannounced audit option. Unannounced audits remain optional.

Changes to the Requirements

  1. Corrective and preventive action: fundamental clause
    The new version of the standard integrates specific requirements on corrective and preventive action (CAPA) related to root cause analysis into a structured continuous improvement approach. This way the root cause analysis is assembled in one paragraph, in line with Issue 8 of the Food Standard, emphasizing the importance of addressing issues with the intent to remove the risk of reoccurrence and supporting continuous improvement. This is a fundamental clause, which means that sites that have not implemented this clause cannot be certified. The fundamental clauses are marked with “FUNDAMENTAL”.
  1. Emphasis on product quality
    BRCGS Packaging Materials is not just a hygiene standard – its scope covers both product safety as well as product quality. Issue 6 places even more emphasis on product quality and clearly distinguishes between safety and quality.In the hazard and risk analysis (HARA), Issue 6 separates hazards into product safety and quality defects to improve control measures necessary to prevent, eliminate or reduce each product quality hazard to acceptable levels (2.2.6).
  1. Product safety and quality culture
    Issue 6 emphasises the importance of the culture at a site. It does so by introducing a new clause (1.1.2). The clause requires sites to set up, execute and review an action plan to improve product safety and quality culture. This does not imply that the auditor will assess the culture of the organization, but rather that (s)he examines the efforts made to document the status of the organisational culture and the steps that are put in place to improve it. The auditor will start assessing this requirement from February 1, 2021.

Here you can download the new standard.

DQS – Your Partner for BRCGS Packaging  Materials Certification

As one of the leading certification bodies for management systems and sustainability standards, DQS is your natural partner for BRCGS Packaging Materials 6 certification. With smooth audit planning, experienced auditors and in-depth audit reports, we will accompany you throughout the entire certification process.

Contact us if you have any questions about the revision, or register for our newsletter to receive regular updates on certification and standards.

Constanze Illner Administrator
Constanze Illner is Research & Communication Officer at DQS CFS GmbH
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Constanze Illner Administrator
Constanze Illner is Research & Communication Officer at DQS CFS GmbH
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