What’s the Difference Between SQF and BRC?

SQF Certification and BRC Certification are both GFSI Standards​ SQF (Safe Quality Food) and BRC (British Retail Consortium) are both internationally recognized food safety management systems that aim to provide assurance to customers about the quality and safety of food ...

What's the Difference Between SQF and BRC?

SQF Certification and BRC Certification are both GFSI Standards​

SQF (Safe Quality Food) and BRC (British Retail Consortium) are both internationally recognized food safety management systems that aim to provide assurance to customers about the quality and safety of food products. Both SQF and BRC are benchmarked standards of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).  You need to prepare for and pass a rigorous SQF audit or BRC audit in order to gain certification for either food safety system. Because SQF and BRC are rated as GFSI benchmarked standards any manufacturer with either of these food safety certifications can easily be marketed to any buyer without adding many other food safety requirements to their production. Costco is a slight exception, the Costco audit is a GFSI based audit with their own special addendum. 

FoodReady has both SQF consultants and BRC consultants and our food safety software is capable of maintaining documents, logs, HACCP plans, and anything else to help you achieve SQF or BRC certification.

Although SQF certification and BRC certification programs have similar objectives, there are some key differences between them.

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Origin and Development: BRC certification is a British-based food safety management system and was first published in 1998. SQF certification, on the other hand, is a global food safety management system and was developed in Australia in the early 1990s.

Scope: BRC is more focused on the requirements of retailers, while SQF is designed to be applicable to a wide range of food industries, including primary production, manufacturing, distribution, and packaging.

Certification: SQF certification is based on an audit of the entire food safety system, while BRCcertification focuses on the audit of critical control points within the system.

Requirements: BRC places more emphasis on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), while SQF requires the implementation of a broader range of food safety programs, including food defense and food fraud prevention.

Standards: BRC has a single standard that applies to all sectors of the food industry, while SQF has different standards for different sectors of the food industry.

Both SQF and BRC aim to provide assurance to customers about the quality and safety of food products. However, the main differences between them lie in their origin, scope, certification process, requirements, and standards.

FoodReady is a food safety software and consulting company. Our software has a HACCP builder, food traceability, you can create your own checklists to manage your HACCP plan or track other items, ingredients, tasks, or events. We also have software features for BRC. With our Enterprise program you will have access to food safety quality assurance consultants who can help you with GFSI, SQF, GMP, SOP, BRC, cGMP, HACCP, USDA, FDA FSMA, gap analysis, or prepare for audits like the Costco audit, the Whole Foods audit, Publix audit, Kroger audit, Safeway audit, Meier audit, HEB audit and more.

FAQs

Yes, a company can hold both SQF and BRC certifications simultaneously, though it’s not common due to the additional cost and effort required to maintain both standards. The benefit of holding both certifications could be to meet specific customer requirements or to demonstrate a particularly high level of commitment to food safety across different aspects of the supply chain.
If a company fails an audit, the first step is to review the audit report to understand the deficiencies identified. The company should then develop a corrective action plan to address each issue, implement the necessary changes, and possibly undergo re-audit to achieve certification. Continuous improvement and adherence to the standards are crucial for passing future audits.
BRC is often preferred by companies in the retail sector or those supplying to UK and European markets, given its British origins and strong retail focus. SQF may be favored by a wider range of sectors, including primary production, manufacturing, and distribution, due to its comprehensive scope and applicability to various stages of the food supply chain.
The decision often depends on the company’s market focus, customer requirements, and specific operational needs. BRC might be more suitable for companies focusing on retail, particularly in the UK or Europe, due to its origin and retailer-focused requirements. SQF might be preferred by companies looking for a broader scope that includes production, manufacturing, distribution, and packaging, especially if they operate globally.

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Saro Loucks

Saro Loucks

Saro Loucks is the Director of Content and a Food Safety Advisor for FoodReady. Saro is certified in HACCP and a trained SQF Practitioner. When Saro is not editing, writing, or advising new customers on what food safety goals they should pursue, she enjoys spending time with her family, baking gluten-free sourdough bread, and playing Mahjong.
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