As of February 2020, the BRCGS Packaging Materials Standard Issue 6 is mandatory. Certified sites will be faced with some fundamental changes, which we have summarized for you below.

BRCGS' new Packaging Materials 6 Standard comes with five fundamental changes that affect both the certification protocol and the requirements for certified sites.

Changes in the protocol

Second hygiene category dropped
Depending on the intended use, edition 5 of the BRCGS standard distinguished two categories of requirements: high hygiene risk and low hygiene risk. In the new edition, this division has been replaced by a risk-based approach, which ensures that the same requirements apply to all packaging. For food contact materials, some requirements have higher or different hygiene requirements.

Two-part unannounced audits deleted
In version 5, there was 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, BRCGS Packaging Materials 6, just like Issue 8 of the BRCGS Food Safety Standard, eliminates the two-part unannounced audit option. Unannounced audits will remain optional.

Changes in requirements

Corrective and Preventive Action: Fundamental Requirement
The new version of the standard lists specific requirements for corrective and preventive actions that are related to root cause analysis. As in Issue 8 of the Food Safety Standard, this continuous improvement approach is explained in a structured manner in just one paragraph. This emphasizes the importance of addressing problems in a way that prevents recurrence and supports continuous improvement. The section belongs to the so-called essential requirements. Implementation of the essential requirements is one of the prerequisites for successful certification.

Emphasis on product quality
The BRCGS Packaging Standard is not just a hygiene standard - it also covers product safety and product quality. Issue 6 places additional emphasis on the relevance of product quality and makes a clear distinction between safety and quality. In hazard and risk analysis, Issue 6 divides the term hazard into product safety and quality defect. The aim is to improve control mechanisms so that quality risks are prevented, eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level (2.2.6).

Product Safety and Quality Culture
Issue 6 emphasizes how important the operating culture is for the site and implements a new paragraph on this. The paragraph requires the site to set up, execute and review action plans to improve product safety and quality culture. However, this does not mean that the auditor will now scrutinize the culture of the organization, but that he or she will review the documented actions carried out in relation to the state of the culture and the resulting improvement approaches. However, this requirement will not be assessed by the auditor until February 1, 2021.

Here you can download the new version.

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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.