The BRC stands for British Retail Consortium. They are part of a European wide regulatory body that looks to maintain food standards and hygiene. They look to set the benchmark and norms that a food producer should be keeping to and hopefully even exceeding them. The issuing of a certificate to the producer shows that their facility is meeting the highest standards of production. In many cases, this is also a legal requirement. The BRC is seen as the benchmark for operators to aspire to. Since its introduction in 1998, it has had no less than eight revisions done to it. An indication of our changing world but also our attitudes to how we get food to our plates. The BRC Audit is done through a third party such as mqmconsulting.co.uk/services/brc-global-standards-consultancy as an example.
The BRC is broken down into nine sections for assessment. These are;
These criteria are created to fit in with the requirements of food manufacturers and suppliers of raw materials, the ingredients for products, and places that package the food before being sent to the retail warehouse for storage.
The BRC is an incredibly in-depth look at the production facility. Everything that you do from the bottom up is assessed for safety. They will look at how everything is recorded, produced and documented by the staff. This will cover all of the nine points above.
It is a vital part of any food producer’s credentials. It adds to the credibility of the brands you are producing. For example, it can open up your product to the global market as the BRC is an internationally based and recognised award. There is a cost to having a BRC, but companies treat it like an investment and see the award as something that the business cannot be without as it starts to lose its status and legitimacy without it.
The best way to prepare for the BRC is to have an internal audit first. You can see what the BRC looks at on their website, plus you can liaise with the third party. This should enable you to get your house in order; hopefully, it will not need it.