Companies can implement various GFSI food safety standards to ensure food quality and safety, and BRC is one of them. BRC certification can bring many benefits to a company, so knowing more about it will be helpful before and during the certification process. In this article, we’ll look deeper at BRC certification, its benefits, requirements and how to prepare for the BRC audit.
What does BRC Certification Mean?
A BRCGS (British Retail Consortium Global Standard) or BRC (British Retail Consortium) food safety audit is an international standard, implemented as a questionnaire, to check for compliance in food production. BRC Certification is a GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) benchmarked standard. It’s used by food manufacturers, retailers and service providers around the world to assess their food safety management systems. By doing so, they’re able to demonstrate that they have an effective management system in place that ensures the safety of their products from source to shelf.
FoodReady BRC consultants and BRC software has all the components you need to get ready and stay ready for a BRC audit or GFSI certification. You can have a demonstration of our food safety software, have your questions answered and get pricing by scheduling a meeting here with one of our food safety experts.
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What are the Benefits of Achieving BRC Certification?
Having a BRC certification means that your business is manufacturing safe quality food products you can be proud of. BRC certification elevates your brand and because BRCGS certification is a GFSI benchmarked standard you can sell your products at large retailers such as Whole Foods, Walmart and with an added addendum, you can sell at Costco as well.
Preparing for a BRC audit is a daunting task. Make your work life a little easier by using FoodReady food safety software and consulting services. Check out our software and consulting features that will help you obtain BRC certification.
Our Food Safety and Quality Management Software features:
- Staff trained in GFSI benchmarked standards like SQF Certification, BRC Certification, HACCP creation and certification.
- One of the company’s founders is a GFSI benchmarked standards auditor and food safety expert with 25 years of experience.
- HACCP Builder
- 80+ HACCP / PCP Plan Templates.
- Biological / Chemical / Physical Hazards Database.
- Implement Critical Control Point (CCP) Logs with Bluetooth Thermometer Integration.
- Drag-drop flow chart builder.
- Operation Checklists
- Easy ‘Drag-Drop’ Checklist Builder with Custom Controls such as Conditional If / Then Logic, Multi-Select Drop Downs, Max-Min Temperature and Numeric Values, and more.
- Replace Excel Spreadsheets with “Grid View” Sheets available in the Mobile App.
- Task Scheduling & Notifications.
- Shipping and Receiving Logs and Inspections for Traceability.
- Quality Control Signature Workflows for Deviations & Corrections.
- Batch Management and Inventory Database
- Batch / Production Run Management With Associated CCP Logs and Quality & Food Safety Checklists.
- Recipe Formulation, Bill of Materials, and Lot Traceability Management.
- Track Quantity on Hand, Work in Progress, and minimum quantity alerts with Inventory Management.
- Purchase Order and Sales Order Management.
- Integration with Quickbooks™
- Traceability and Recall
- Recall Plan & Mock Recall Management.
- Product Complaint Tracking.
- Receiving & Shipping Lot Traceability and Sales Order and Purchase Order Tracking.
- Receiving GS1 Barcode Scanning.
- Automated Supplier Document Management
- Supplier Upload Portal
- Easily manage hundreds or thousands of required supplier documents in one place.
- Automatically emails suppliers with document requests.
- Save months of effort managing hundreds or thousands of files.
- Monitoring and Verification
- Real-time list of CCP logs and checklists for Management Review.
- Generate Corrective Action Reports and CAPA Logs to address Deviations.
- Real-Time Notifications if Monitoring Limits are breached or additional reviews are needed.
- Pairable with Thermoworks bluetooth thermometer for temperature monitoring.
- Environmental Monitoring
- Environmental Swabbing Documentation.
- Organize Areas, Zones, Locations, Indicators, Pathogens, and Testing Frequency.
- Testing Scheduler with Notifications and Reusable Templates.
- Integration with Alliant Food Safety Labs and other 3rd Party Laboratories.
- Cloud Based System with Mobile App
- Real-time updates from employee’s mobile apps visible on the web system at any location.
- English and Spanish versions of the mobile app.
- Compatible with Mac and Android
What are the 12 Fundamental Requirements of the BRC Standard?
The 12 main requirements you must follow for the BRC standard are listed below:
- Your senior management is committed to continually improving safety and quality.
- You have a detailed food safety plan in place. (HACCP, SQF, GMP).
- You conduct regular internal audits.
- You manage suppliers of raw materials and packaging.
- You have corrective and preventive actions in place.
- You track and document ingredients from suppliers for traceability.
- Your factory layout, flow of processes and movement of staff must be sufficient to prevent the risk of product contamination and to comply with relevant legislation.
- You employ appropriate and effective hygiene regulations.
- You carefully separate and contain all known allergens.
- You provide a facility layout, floor plan, and organization that is in compliance with your food safety plan.
- All your food products are correctly labeled and packaged.
- You provide sufficient food safety training for your employees that encompasses all areas of food production including but not limited to raw material handling, preparation, processing, packing and storage.
How to Prepare for the BRC Audit?
The basic steps are choosing a certification body recognized by BRC, scheduling the audit, or agreeing to pass the unannounced audit.
Remember to choose a team you want to be involved in the audit. Also, you will need to train them to be ready.
Ensure all the documentation is well organized and there are no issues.
Self-assessment and pre-audit will be significant in identifying gaps and seeing what you need to improve.
Create a checklist to track the most minor details you need to complete the audit. Such a checklist will cover every step of the preparation process.
Now, you need to pass the very BRC audit.
When will my Business Get a BRC Certificate?
After the audit, you will need to deal with any non-conformances that appeared during the audit. You will have 28 days for that. Once the certification body confirms the non-conformances are closed, the certificate will be issued within 42 days from the audit date.
BRC Grading System and Recertification
BRC grades are AA, A, B, C, and D. AA is the highest. Also, if you pass the unannounced BRC audit, you will have + near the grade, for example, AA+. You will be graded according to the number of points you get during the BRC audit. The more points you get – the higher grade you will receive.
BRC recertification frequency depends on the grade you have. BRC audit is conducted once every twelve months for a B grade or higher and six months for a C. For grade D, the audit takes place once every half a year, but the auditor will return within 28 days of the audit to deal with non-conformances.
Now you are Ready to Start Your BRC Certification Journey
As a GFSI-recognized standard, BRC certification is an excellent opportunity for food manufacturers to showcase their commitment to food safety. Moreover, it will bring advantages to companies and assurance that their consumers will be buying a safe, quality food product.
Preparation for the BRC audit and the audit itself can be a challenge. Companies that prepare thoroughly for the audit according to the BRC certification requirements are more likely to achieve certification with their first audit. Now you are more aware of BRC certification, and that’s an important first step toward audit preparedness.
We will gladly assist you with your BRC certification until you obtain it. FoodReady is a food safety software and consulting company. Our Enterprise program will provide you the access to food safety quality assurance professionals who can help you with the BRC audit.
We are offering a free 14-day trial of our food safety software. Click the button below to start without a credit card!
FAQs About BRC Certification:
What is the latest BRC standard?
The latest BRC standard is Food Safety Issue 9. It was launched on August 1, 2022.
Is ISO the same as BRC?
They are different. ISO covers any product, whereas BRC focuses on a specific range of fields.
Is it possible to fail the BRC audit?
If you don’t meet some of the crucial requirements, you can fail the BRC audit. Some of the most common mistakes that lead to a low score or a failed audit are hygiene-related ones.