What Is BRC Version 6?

The BRC Standard for Food Safety was originally published in 1998 and has undergone several revisions in the past 15 years, the current version being BRC Standard for Food Safety Version 6 which was published in July 2011 and effective from January 2012. BRC Version 6 covers new developments in food safety and extends requirements in a number of key areas including supplier management, foreign body control and allergen management.

BRC Version 6 is a GFSI recognized scheme that sets out the requirements for food companies involved in processing of foods and preparation of primary products. As a scheme BRC certification is well established in the UK and Europe being driven over the years by major retailers and as a consequence many food organizations operate to a high standard of food hygiene and safety. An organization with grade A BRC Version 6 certification can be regarded as a highly reputable and credible supplier especially if they have adopted the new voluntary 2 stage unannounced audit scheme that has been introduced.

BRC Standard for Food Safety Version 6 requirements are split into seven sections, section 1, Senior Management Commitment as it implies requires management to demonstrate a commitment to food safety in a number of ways including implementing documented food safety policies, objectives, providing resources, having an management structure with defined responsibilities and carrying out reviews of the food safety management system.

Section 2 covers the developing and establishing a Food Safety Plan, HACCP implementation based on Codex Alimentarius principles. There is an additional requirement for specific prerequisite programmes which was introduced in BRC Issue 6.

BRC Issue 6 section 3 specifies the minimum requirements for a documented Food Safety and Quality Management System including procedures and work instructions, all of which should be controlled. Internal audits, supplier & material controls, corrective action, control of non-conforming product traceability, complaint handling, management of incidents and recalls.

Section 4 prescribes the expected site standards, most of these would be regarded as ‘good manufacturing practices’ such as cleaning, maintenance, hygiene & housekeeping, waste control, pest control, storage, transport and requirements for satisfactory factory design & construction standards, plant layout and product flow.

Section 5 prescribes expected product controls including product development, packaging, inspection product release and management of allergens which is a fundamental requirement for due to the seriousness of allergic reactions.

Section 6 prescribes process control requirements where control of operations is another fundamental requirement of BRC Issue 6 this would include critical controls such as cooking times and temperatures. Other requirements include quantity control and calibration of instruments.

Section7 has requirements for the control of personnel including personal hygiene, protective clothing, medical screening and training which is another fundamental requirement of the standard.

Version 6 places increased emphasis on good manufacturing practice, including a change in the balance of the number and depth of requirements in favor of the implementation of good manufacturing systems within the factory and greater focus on standardizing best practices for auditing the Standard.

The fundamental requirements of BRC Version 6 are; senior management commitment, food safety plan, internal audits, corrective action, traceability, layout flow segregation, housekeeping and hygiene, management of allergens, control of operations and training. A failure to demonstrate compliance in any of these clauses would result in a failed audit and non-certification.

By Carl Barton - Managing Partner. (Google+)