Following the six-month transition period, the new version of the BRC Food Safety Standard will come into force on February 1, 2019. To help you prepare for the new edition, we have outlined the key changes for you.
Compared to its predecessor, edition 8 of the BRC Food Standard includes a number of significant changes. According to BRC, the new version delves deeper into key topics to ensure the standard is globally applicable and remains recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). The new standard promotes the development of a food safety culture and expands requirements for environmental monitoring. Greater management involvement is also a focus, as are the implications of the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). In addition to these focus areas, several new chapters and clauses are added, which we have summarized for you below.
- Two-part unannounced audits eliminated
Version 7 allowed a choice of three audit options: Announced Audit Procedure, Complete Unannounced Audit Procedure, and Two-Part Unannounced Audit Procedure. In the last audit option, two separate audits were performed in each case, the first unannounced, the second announced. The completely unannounced audit option was generally preferred by buyers as it provides additional confidence. For this reason, BRC Food 8 eliminates the two-part unannounced audit option. Unannounced audits will remain optional.
- Food safety culture
Food safety culture is an extremely important factor when it comes to managing product safety. BRC Food Version 8 includes requirements aimed at developing and maintaining a food safety and quality culture. Management is also involved in this process. Since company culture is perceived subjectively , the auditor does not evaluate the culture per se, but rather assesses the documented measures implemented in relation to the state of the company culture and the resulting improvement approaches.
- Product Recall
As in Issue 7, Version 8 of the BRC Food Standard requires that the certification body that issued the current certificate for the site be notified of product recalls within three days. Edition 8 expands this requirement to include "significant incidents." This includes regulatory deviations, negative media coverage, and food safety incidents that can potentially harm consumers.
- Chapter 8: High Risk, High Care, and Ambient High Care Requirements
Requirements for production sites that fall into the High Risk, High Care, and Ambient High Care category have been summarized in Chapter 8. Sites are expected to have facilities and controls suitable to prevent product contamination by pathogens. These clauses, formerly under Chapters 4 and 7, must be met in addition to the requirements in Chapters 1-7.
- Chapter 9: Traded Goods Requirements - Voluntary Module
This module has been included as a separate chapter. It requires organizations to develop procedures to ensure that food produced is safe, complies with legal requirements, and has been produced according to product specifications. The module remains voluntary, but in a marked difference from Version 7, any deviations for this module will be included in the overall score. If the opt-out clause (in the sense of "opting out") is used, this will be considered as an exclusion of the scope.
- Requirements for pet food
In chapter 5 of the new version, new requirements for pet food manufacturers have been specified. Among other things, the chapter includes requirements for companies that manufacture products for different types of animals and ensures that the products are developed for their intended purpose (complete feeds or feed supplements). Medicated feeds must be accurately labeled and identifiable. To this end, mechanisms must be in place to ensure accurate concentration of these additives. It is important that animal feed not be within the scope of this standard.
- Report problems confidentially
Today, the integration of a reporting system is essential. To ensure that any concerns regarding product safety, integrity, quality, and legality can be passed on to management and handled confidentially, the method (email, hotline, etc.) must be clearly communicated to all employees. It is also necessary to implement and document a procedure for handling concerns. BRC's newly published "Whistleblower Hotline" is particularly well suited for this purpose.
- The addition of the cyber security clause to incident management
Chapter 3, clause 3.11.1, requires that organizations implement procedures to document and handle cyber attacks or outages to their cyber security. This topic is becoming increasingly important, so BRC Food is aligning with other standards and principles in this regard.
From the evaluation of the most frequent deviations, it appears that many sites do not perform the internal audits on time. An adjustment to clause 3.4.1 is now intended to ensure that management systems are regularly audited internally. At least four internal audits should be conducted at regular intervals per year. The scope of the internal audits should cover all activities and is measured by the risk associated with these activities.
When does version 8 come into force?
The application of BRC Standard Version 8 is mandatory for all audits that take place after February 1, 2019. Certification to the new version is not possible before then.
Where can I find the new standard?
The standard is available in the BRC Bookshop for download. After registration you can download the complete standard as a PDF file free of charge.
When will the BRC Food Standard Version 8 be available in other languages?
The complete standard will be available in 14 languages.
What DQS can do for you
- Workshops are available on demand.
- Pre-assessments to identify any gaps
- Certification to BRC Food Version 8