British Retail Consortium

The British Retail Consortium (BRC), a UK trade organization that represents UK retailers, developed the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety. The latest version of the standard Issue 5 was published in January 2008. The standard is quite prescriptive and specifies safety, quality and operational criteria expected of compliant food manufacturing organisations.

The BRC Global Standard for Food Safety is one of the most popular certification standards and has been adopted by food manufacturers all around the world, especially by those organizations supplying British retailers. Third party certification to the standard helps manufacturers demonstrate compliance with customer, regulatory and statutory requirements and hence assists in providing a due diligence defence.

The BRC Global Standard for Food Safety is appropriate to organisations supplying food products to UK retailers, regardless of the country of origin. In most cases certification to this standard is a pre-condition for supplying to UK retailers.

The principal requirements of the standard are the implementation of a HACCP system, a documented food safety quality management system and a control of factory environmental standards, products, processes and personnel. Implementing an effective food safety and quality management system requires commitment of senior management to develop policies, objectives and systems that collectively assure food quality and safety. The standard places a high priority on clear evidence of senior management commitment including the need to have management review, with the involvement of senior management, to identify opportunities and take the appropriate actions in order to continually improve. The Standard requires management review carried out as a minimum once a year and records of these reviews need to be comprehensively documented and retained.

The Standard requires effective communication and provision of adequate financial and human resources. An appropriate organisational structure should be in place to establish, maintain and improve the food safety and quality management system, also ensuring that all relevant responsibilities and accountabilities are covered across all departments and personnel.