BRC is a technical standard describing the standard of the supplier’s own brand
which is necessary for the BRC companies in  the United Kingdom.  

Over 50% of all food products sold in Great Britain account for wholesale brand name products. According to Food Safety Act from 1990, merchants engaged in retail trade are obliged to undertake any necessary precautions as to avoid mistakes in the development, production, sale and advertising especially concerning food products selling.

This obligation, concerning retail trade of brand name products, implies the technical efficiency control in institutions producing food articles. For many years every retailer has perceived this task individually. However, the efficiency of institutions producing food articles is measured in accordance with individual, internal standards.

Occasionally  such control is imposed by retail trade food industry technicians in the presence of the producer. On other occasions by external control and research centres.

The technical control of the production sites of delivery companies constitutes only a part of the obligatory diligence maintaining system for retailers. Yet, it remains on the part of the retailer to control whether a particular delivery company has been accepted.

Technical standard for comestibles

This technical standard has been introduced by the British Retail Consortium for those companies which supply comestibles of their own brand.

The standard has been developed as an aid for retailers with reference to the fulfilment of the statutory regulations and consumer protection.  It provides a unified ground for certification of companies supplying their own brands.  

The standard contains a basis of sub standards for retailers and is constantly supplemented in order to meet both the requirements of the merchants and their suppliers. It should not be used as a substitute of statutory regulations if they are set for a particular brand by a higher-level standard. The standard remains under regular control imposed by a specially assigned control centre and may be changed if necessary.

The factors that are controlled in a company through the audit are:

    maintaining and realization of HACCP standard.
    documented and efficient system for quality management. ,
    the control of factory environmental standards, products, processes and personnel.

Our BRC certificates are approved by the leading department store chains that require BRC Global Standard Food certification from their suppliers.

Since July 01, 2008 controls are imposed according to the 5th version of BRC Standard for Food Safety.
The new 5th version contains 4 main parts:

Part 1:
Introduction, regulations, Food Safety Management System certification process with its basic components.
Part 2:
The standard’s requirements
Part 3:
This part contains the requirements concerning the company, points of certification, auditors and the rules of conducting the audit, etc.
Part 4:
Global Standards Directory
and attachments  (a dictionary)

Assessment system:

There are four different levels of classification (A, B, C, D) so far. The certificate is granted only for A, B and C. Deviations are marked as critical, major and minor. The definitions, unlike in version 4th, remain unchanged. Detected faults must be corrected within 28 days. Exceptionally this may be extended up to 90 days which concerns the dates of supply or construction defects.

At this point an increase in the rigidity of the BRC standard must be stated. The standard requires the major index whenever there are numerous deviations detected.

A significant increase in rigidity may be observed with reference to the assessment:

Classification A:
no Major, max. 10 Minors
Classification B:
- no Major , 10-20 Minors
- max. 1 Major, max. 10 Minors
Classification C:
- max. 2 Majors, 20 or less Minors
- more than 2 Major, up to 30 Minors

It has to be stated that regarding classification C the certificate is valid for maximum 6 months. Another audit is still necessary within 28 days.

The certificate will not be granted in case of three and more major units are affirmed.

In part 3 chapter 13 a possibility of conducting an unannounced audit in the certified company is stipulated. This option is not obligatory. The whole process is being under constant control on the part of BRC through certification levels. Such possibility is reserved only for the companies that received the certificate of A or B level.   The classification is possible in A, B and C. Additional star is being granted. All requirements of this audit remain under strict control.

After numerous conversations with clients, including those from England, such possibility has been given up.  

In 2006, BRC has introduced Global Standards Directory, the main concept of which is a central bank of data. Since then, for the first time in the world, it has been possible to control the certificates, relatively, the reports of individual certification centres.  It is especially important as many institutions have recently terminated certificates, relatively, exposed themselves to constantly combined certification through Inernationalen Food Standard (18 months). Since 2006, such procedure is no more possible. Such a breach of certification process is marked as Major. There are hardly any exceptions to this practice, those existing are considerably restricted (uncertain political localisation or environmental cataclysms).  The scope for which a certificate is to be valid is stated in the contract. In order to extend the scope in the course of time it is necessary to inform the certification centre. On each level the complete production process with reference to the agreed articles is brought under the audit. In case of the extension of the scope the certifying unit imposes an additional audit. A new certificate is granted, valid with the date of the previous one.

In part 2 requirements for the standard are stated considering 7 domains:  
the management and improvement of HACCP, food security management system as well as the quality requirement with reference to the standard product management, process management and personnel.

The basic requirements remain unchanged. Particular requirements have to be thoroughly elaborated by the certifying institution. Basically, it is obligatory for a company to be scrupulously prepared for the BRC standard. A new and extensive paragraph becomes number 1. It deals with the requirements for managing the company and the process of improvement. This range used to be enclosed in sections 2.5, 2.7 and 2.8. This is a typical range of ISO 9001:2000, yet considerably reformed. The following chapters contain a lot of changes of version 4 in comparison to version 5. A detailed explanation of the abovementioned issues would considerably exceed the framework. However, it should not remain unnoticed that many chapters contain so called minimal requirements. In the new version attempts have been made to formulate and specify particular requirements.

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