About the BRCGS Global Standard for Food Safety
First published in 1998, the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety has set the benchmark for food safety certification schemes for over 20 years. In 2000, the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety became the first GFSI recognised standard. In fact, over the years the BRCGS Global Standard for Food Safety has been a leading light in advancing food safety standards in food manufacturing such that the GFSI benchmark requirements themselves have incorporated new elements introduced by BRC such as food fraud prevention and developing a food safety culture.
Now known as BRCGS Global Standard for Food Safety, it is adopted by over 22,000 sites in 130 countries. Issue 9 was published on the 1st August. It requires a Food Safety Management System to be compliant in 4 key areas:
Senior Management Commitment
HACCP/Food Safety Plan
Product Safety and Quality Management System
The BRCGS Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 9 requirements are in 9 Sections
1 Senior Management Commitment
2 The Food Safety Plan – HACCP
3 Food Safety and Quality Management System
4 Site Standards
5 Product Control
6 Process Control
8 High-Risk, High-Care and Ambient High-Care Production Risk Zones
9 Requirements for Traded Products
Sections 1 to 3 are self-explanatory; Sections 4 to 8 cover Prerequisite Programmes and Section 9 is specific to Traded Products and may not be applicable.
The BRCGS Global Standard for Food Safety contains certain requirements that have been designated as ‘fundamental’ that relate to systems that are crucial to the establishment and operation of an effective food operation. The fundamental requirements are:
Senior Management Commitment & Continual Improvement (Section 1.1)
The Food Safety Plan – HACCP (Section 2)
Internal Audits (Section 3.4)
Management of Suppliers of Raw Materials & Packaging (Section 3.5.1)
Corrective & Preventive Actions (Section 3.7)
Traceability (Section 3.9)
Layout, Product Flow & Segregation (Section 4.3)
Housekeeping & Hygiene (Section 4.11)
Management of Allergens (Section 5.3)
Control of Operations (Section 6.1)
Labelling & Pack Control (Section 6.2)
The main changes in Issue 9 are summarised below
Product Safety Culture – There are considerable additions to food safety and culture requirements in section 1.1.2, including more specific requirements for the plan for the development and continuing improvement of a food safety and quality culture. These requirements are not rocket science but are clear, the plan must include communication, training, feedback, prescribed behaviours, performance measurement and timescales.
HACCP/Food Safety Plan – The whole of Section 2 has been aligned with the requirements with the 2020 revision of the CODEX General Principles of Food Hygiene. There have been some changes (shown in red) in alignment with CODEX Seven HACCP Principles and 12 Steps in HACCP Application:
3.1 Assemble HACCP Team and Identify Scope (Step 1)
3.2 Describe product (Step 2)
3.3 Identify intended use and users (Step 3)
3.4 Construct flow diagram (Step 4)
3.5 On-site confirmation of flow diagram (Step 5)
3.6 List all potential hazards that are likely to occur and associated with each step, conduct a hazard analysis to identify the significant hazards, and consider any measures to control identified hazards (Step 6/ Principle 1)
3.7 Determine the Critical Control Points (Step 7/ Principle 2)
3.8 Establish validated critical limits for each CCP (Step 8/ Principle 3)
3.9 Establish a Monitoring System for Each CCP (Step 9/ Principle 4)
3.10 Establish corrective actions (Step 10/ Principle 5)
3.11 Validation of the HACCP Plan and Verification Procedures (Step 11/ Principle 6)
3.12 Establish Documentation and Record Keeping (Step 12/ Principle 7)
Outsourced Processing – There has been an update of the definition of outsourced processing added to the Glossary and updates in Section 3.5.4 Management of Outsourced Processing with an emphasis on ensuring that any hazards associated with the outsourced operations are identified and controlled and that a service specification is agreed including any specific handling requirements for the products.
Equipment – There are major revisions of the requirements of Section 4.6 Equipment including requirements for a documented purchase specification for any new equipment, a documented, risk-based commissioning procedure and other food safety requirements for the management of equipment.
Animal Primary Conversion – New Section 5.9 Animal Primary Conversion with the requirements of the Issue 8 position statement incorporated into BRCGS Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 9.
Authenticity – ‘Integrity’ has been replaced by ‘Authenticity’ throughout the standard to ensure consistent terminology throughout the BRCGS Standards.
Other changes in Issue 9 include updated requirements associated with core product safety activities including as internal audits, root cause analysis, preventive actions and incident management.
The following additional voluntary modules have been reviewed and updated for Issue 9:
Module 10 – Global G.A.P. Chain of Custody
Module 11 – Meat Supply Chain Assurance.
Module 13 – Meeting FSMA Requirements for Food (Previously known as Module 13: FSMA Preventive controls preparedness)
For more information on the BRCGS Global Standard for Food Safety go to the BRCGS website here: https://www.brcgs.com/our-standards/food-safety/