About the BRC Global Standard for Storage and Distribution ( Issue 4 )

The BRC Global Standard for Food and Distribution was first published in 2006, the current version is Issue 4 which was published in November 2020 and effective May 2021. The standard covers activities that can affect the safety, quality, and legality of food, packaging and consumer products during storage and distribution processes. There are eight core sections:

  1. Senior Management Commitment
  2. Hazard and Risk Analysis
  3. Product Safety and Quality Management System
  4. Site and Building Standards
  5. Vehicle Operating Standards
  6. Facility Management
  7. Good Operating Practices
  8. Personnel
Primarily the Standard applies to the storage and distribution of packaged products which are already protected. However, there is section 9 Handling of Open Food Products which applies to permitted exceptions which are limited to:
  • open boxes and trays of fruit and vegetables
  • trays of raw fish/crustaceans/other sea food
  • carcasses of meat
For all other open food product handling and processing operations, the Global Standard for Food Safety is applicable. There are also Additional Voluntary Modules:
  • 10 Wholesale Module
  • 11 Cross-docking Module – New in Issue 4
  • 12 E-commerce Module – New in Issue 4
Contracted services modules:
  • 13 Contractual arrangements (all services)
  • 14 Product inspection
  • 15 Contract packing (repacking, assembly packing)
  • 16 Quantity control inspection
  • 17 Contract chilling/freezing/ tempering/defrosting and high- pressure process operations
  • 18 Contract cleaning of baskets, roll cages and other distribution containers
  • 19 Waste recovery and recycling
BRC Global Standard for Food and Distribution Issue 4 is in alignment with GFSI Benchmarking Requirements Version 2020 and is close to completing the GFSI benchmarking process. The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Benchmarking Requirements are a widely-accepted benchmark for food safety certification programs. GFSI-recognized Certification Program Owners are required to address each key element outlined in GFSI Benchmarking Requirements Version 2020, the main change being the requirement for a food safety culture. Part III of the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements defines the key elements required in a Certification Program in relation to:
  • Hazard and Risk Management Systems (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) or HACCP based systems)
  • Food Safety Management Systems;
  • Good Storage and Distribution Practices, Good Manufacturing Practices, Good Agricultural Practices.

Changes in the BRC Global Standard for Storage and Distribution

The main changes in the Global Standard for Storage and Distribution, issue 4 are:
  • New clause: 1.1.2 Food Safety Culture – plan for the development and continuing improvement of a product safety and quality culture
  • New clause: 1.1. Whistleblowing System – the requirement to have a confidential reporting system to enable staff to report concerns relating to product safety, legality, quality and integrity.
  • HACCP – HARA or HACCP study is based on comprehensive information sources, which are referenced and available on request, there is a need to have a process flow diagram and requirement for the review of HARA or HACCP plans of service providers or subcontractors
  • Inspections – requirement for documented inspections, no less than every 3 months, to ensure that the site environment and equipment are maintained in a suitable condition.
  • Root Cause Analysis – requirement for root cause analysis to determine preventive actions
  • Emergency Supplies – requirement for a procedure to handle exceptions to the subcontractor approval process
  • Control of Subcontracted distribution – requirement to verify activities critical to product safety for subcontracted distribution of products
  • New section: 3.5.3 Product Fraud Risk Management
  • Site Plan – Requirement for current map or plan of the whole site
  • Control of Auto-Systems – requirement to risk-assess and define procedures for automated systems
  • New section: 7.7 Management of Allergens – New requirements for the Management of Allergens including a documented allergen management plan
  • New section 9 Handling of Open Food Products – with additional requirements for open products including:
  • 9.1 Hazard and risk analysis
  • 9.2 Staff facilities
  • 9.3 Fabrication
  • 9.4 Maintenance
  • 9.5 Housekeeping and hygiene
  • 9.6 Protective clothing