If you are currently working or thinking about working in the food manufacturing industry, you have probably heard of the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety (now branded as BRCGS).
BRCGS stands for Brand Reputation Compliance Global Standard and is a consumer protection organisation which sets out key quality and safety standards throughout the food manufacturing industry.
The standards are based on HACCP and quality management systems, and food manufacturers (plus other organisations involved in the food production process) must meet these standards to become BRC certified. This certification provides protection and confidence throughout the food supply chain and for the end customer – knowing that the food they buy is safe to eat!
Why does BRC exist?
BRCGS was created in 1996 by a group of UK retailers who wanted to set consistent and transparent standards across the food industry supply chain.
Internationally recognised, the Global Standard has been carefully developed over time (currently on Version 9 from 1st August 2022) by industry experts to ensure it is comprehensive and covers each area where food safety is paramount.
It allows food manufacturers to have confidence in the products they produce – ensuring they make consistently high-quality and safe products, which helps reduce product recalls and customer complaints. Manufacturers know that any ingredients or raw materials they buy to use within their own products are also safe.
Retailers can be assured that the consumer products they sell meet high food safety and quality standards.
Who needs to be BRC Food Safety certified?
Ideally, each organisation at every step of the food production supply chain will be BRC Food Safety certified. This will include food manufacturers, raw material processors, ingredients suppliers, foodservice suppliers and wholesalers, logistics and distribution partners, and food packing facilities.
How do companies become accredited?
Each organisation is audited against the requirements by BRCGS accredited and approved certification bodies. An accredited and approved Auditor will visit the site, carry out a full inspection then provide a report of the audit results. Auditors must be BRCGS approved and work for a certification body.
Organisations which meet the standard will be provided with their certification. If any non-conformances are identified, the organisation must implement the required corrective actions.
Who is responsible for maintaining standards?
Food safety and quality is one of the most important issues for any food manufacturer. Dedicated quality assurance and technical teams exist solely to ensure their products are high-quality and safe.
Each food manufacturing business will have a Technical Manager or Quality Assurance Manager who will be responsible for overall product safety and ensuring a food safety culture is implemented.
There will also be crucial supporting members of the team which may include QA Technicians, Technical Assistants, Quality Controllers etc.
BRC audits can be unannounced, meaning standards must be adhered to at all times.
How can I work in food safety?
Jobs in food safety are extremely popular. It is a rewarding line of work, which gives job holders great satisfaction in knowing they are helping to produce high-quality, and safe to eat products, which will be enjoyed by their customers.
If you have a food related degree such as Food Technology, Food Science or similar, this will provide a fantastic basis to build your food safety career.