Consumer and customer confidence in safe food must be maintained - even during the current pandemic. Certifications continue to play a key role in this regard. But, what to do when auditors cannot come due to travel restrictions and hygiene measures? BRCGS has developed three certificate renewal procedures for this eventuality: BRCGS072, BRCGS Certificate Extension PLUS (077) and the Covid-19 Additional Module. Find out below which is appropriate for whom and where the differences between the protocols lie.

The good news is that you're not alone. COVID-19 results in audits not being performed around the world - auditors can't show up, and at some sites, production is at a complete standstill.

In these unpredictable times, it's a huge challenge for standard setters, certifiers and food manufacturers to guarantee food safety. For all of them, it is essential to continuously adapt to the unusual circumstances. In order to meet the new requirements and guarantee food safety even without an on-site audit, BRCGS has developed three audit protocols that we would like to briefly introduce to you:

BRCGS072

The first certificate renewal protocol BRCGS has developed in response to COVID-19 is called BRCGS072. The BRCGS072 program can be applied to sites that are currently producing but cannot conduct a physical audit in time for BRCGS certificate expiration.

The protocol requires a risk assessment by the appropriate certification body to confirm that certification can continue. Furthermore, an interview with the certification body must be conducted to determine the impact of the exceptional circumstances of COVID-19 on the operation and to verify the effective implementation of a contingency plan. Certificate renewal can only be performed by the certification body that performed the previous BRCGS audit.

Through a successful BRCGS072 assessment, sites obtain a GFSI-compliant certificate renewal of six months. Once the site is accessible again, the full on-site audit must be conducted. Download the BRCGS072 protocol here.

BRCGS Certificate Extension Plus

The BRCGS Certificate Extension PLUS program is an evolution of BRCGS072 and is designed for BRCGS Food Safety 8 certified sites. After consultation with leading brands and industry stakeholders, it has become apparent that BRCGS072 often does not adequately meet individual safety needs. The BRCGS Certificate Extension PLUS program addresses stakeholder need and allows for a more comprehensive assessment process and in-depth audits compared to the renewal process described above.

The BRCGS Certificate Extension PLUS program consists of, among other things, a full on-site self-assessment and is based on the use of remote audit technologies. In addition to the requirements of BRCGS072, the new program includes a "remote site review" and interviews with management.

Through a successful Certificate Extension PLUS assessment, sites earn a GFSI-compliant certificate extension of six months and also receive a certificate of participation in the BRCGS Certificate Extension PLUS program. Once the site is accessible again, the full on-site audit must be completed. The BRCGS Certificate Extension PLUS program can only be audited by the certification body that conducted the previous BRCGS Food 8 audit.

Click here to download the Certificate Extension PLUS document.

Covid-19 Additional Module

The Covid-19 Additional Module can also be applied to food manufacturers that are not BRCGS certified. The module can be used to verify how risks to product safety and quality posed by Covid-19 are managed. The module also verifies the legality of the measures. It includes a remote interview and document review, remote site review, and interviews with management.

You can request the Covid-19 Additional Module here.

What DQS can do for you

DQS is your expert partner for BRCGS072 and BRCGS Certificate Extension PLUS certificate renewals. In addition, we also conduct Covid-19 Additional Module Assessments.

With smooth audit planning, experienced auditors and meaningful audit reports, we accompany you through the entire process. As the founder of DQS Remote, DQS is one of the pioneers in remote audits. Benefit from our expertise!  

Author
Constanze Illner

Constanze Illner (she/her) is Research and Communications Officer in the area of sustainability and food safety. In this position, she keeps an eye on all important developments in this context and informs our clientele in a monthly newsletter. She also moderates the annual Sustainability Heroes conference.

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