The anticipated release of the new BRC Global Standard for Packaging – Issue 6 will be August 2019 – and it is not just the name that will be subject to a change. In the following, we will present you a summary of the proposed changes, stated in the Draft Version that is now under revision.
The new BRC Global Standard for Packaging – Issue 6 includes six major changes: two key changes concerning the protocol and four key changes regarding the requirements of the former Packaging and Packaging materials – Issue 5 certification. While reading please keep in mind that the requirements and protocol are still subject to change.
Changes to the Protocol
- 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”.
- Removing second/split unannounced audit option
Version 5 of the BRC 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
- 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”.
- Emphasis on product quality
BRC Global Standard for Packaging 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).
- 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.
- Pellet, flake and powder control in the plastic industry
Section 8 of the BRC Global Standard for Packaging – Issue 6 acknowledges the importance of raw material management in the packaging industry with the intention to remove new plastic contamination from food supply chain. This regards the removal of risks of cumulative chemical contamination of the human food chain and removing the risk of starvation of fish and marine mammals. Section 8 is applicable to the conversion of polymer from pellet, the use of flake or powder and the use of hot melt glues, particle raw materials etc.
After the estimated publication of the new BRC Packaging Standard – Issue 6 in August 2019, there is a transition period of six months. The use of Issue 6 is compulsory for all certification audits taking place from February 2020 onwards. Prior to that date, it is not possible to be certified according to the new version.
DQS – Your Partner for BRC Packaging Certification
The BRC Global Standard for Packaging – Issue 6 is currently available as a Draft International Standard. As one of the leading certification bodies for management systems and sustainability standards, DQS is your natural partner for BRC Packaging 6 certification. With smooth audit planning, experienced auditors and in-depth audit reports, we will accompany you throughout the entire certification process.