The BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials
This standard focuses on manufacturers of packaging materials for food products. Once the certifying process for a production enterprise has been completed, the applicable systems and controls are put in place in order to ensure that packaging for both food and non-food products is adjusted and safe.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the Institute of Packaging (also known by the name of The Packaging Society) developed in cooperation with each other this technical standard in order to help food retailers and manufacturers comply with the legal prescriptions. One of the main objectives of this standard is to try and protect the consumer by proposing an evaluation basis for enterprises that supply packaging material for food products to retailers.
Ever since the standard has been published in 2001, it has been broadly supported and applied by wholesalers, manufacturers and packaging enterprises from all over the world.
Which items does the BRC auditor check in an enterprise?
In total 230 points in the enterprise operations are carefully examined. Not only on paper, but also on site and in detail. Every company that wishes to obtain or continue to hold a BRC certificate, is subject to this very strict audit on an annual basis, meaning that a certificate has validity for one year only. This is hence the perfect assurance that an enterprise is continuously operating in accordance with the most rigorous standards.
The standard comprises 6 chapters. Each one of these chapters focuses specifically and in considerable detail on all aspects of the process:
- Commitment from the top management
The company's top management has to be totally involved in the implementation of the standard's requirements. It provides the necessary means and monitors efficient communication and evaluation systems in order to ensure continuous improvement of the organisation. The presence of a clear organizational structure, responsibilities and competences etc. are also involved here.
- The food safety plan - HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points)
A documented danger and risk management system has to be available to ensure that all hazards for the safety of the product, the quality and the legislation have been established and that the appropriate measures and controls are in place.
- The food safety and quality management system
This chapter comprises all procedures that are applied by the company in order to comply with the standard's requirements. The specifications of the raw materials and the products have to be presented for each and every product, internal audits have to be executed, suppliers and third parties have to be selected and subject to evaluation and the raw materials and the products have to be fully traceable. The customers' expectations have to be identified and realized, and the complaints of customers have to be treated with great efficiency. This information has to be used to reduce the number of complaints and recall actions have to be executed rapidly.
- Settlement standards
The requirements with respect to, amongst others, infrastructure (external and internal), facilities for public utility, safety, installations, maintenance, cleaning, contamination hazards (physical, chemical or biological), and waste and pest control management are defined in that chapter.
- Knowledge of the Product and the Process
This part comprises the control of the structural design and of the iconography, the prints and the processing (punching, folding, gluing), calibration, measurement and monitoring of machinery, appliances etc., the raw materials or non-compliant products, entry control, storage and transportation.
An enterprise has to make sure that the staff is sufficiently qualified and competent.
Training and personal hygiene are therefore central in this last chapter. Also, all workers and visitors to the production areas have to wear appropriate protective clothing.
Why are you opting for a BRC certified supplier?
BRC certified enterprises have better guarantees to offer with respect to traceability, food safety and quality. You can rest assured that BRC enterprises take food safety seriously, also concerning themselves with it internally. You can hence be absolutely certain that choosing for a BRC certified supplier, means choosing for safety for yourself and your consumers.