Auditor expecting factory line

BRCGS Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 9: a guide to key changes

18 July 2022 | Richard Leathers, Global Quality Lead and Mair James, Food Safety Management Specialist

The BRCGS Global Standard for Food Safety is being updated to reflect the latest developments in best practice for food and drink production. It will supersede issue 8 released in August 2018.

This short guide will help you to understand the key changes that have been made and how they will affect your business.

What is the BRCGS Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 9?

The BRCGS Global Standard for Food Safety is the most widely used of the commercial standards for assuring the production of safe food, with over 25,000 food certificates issued annually by more than 1,500 auditors working on behalf of 64 certification bodies.

When will the BRCGS Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 9 be released?

The eagerly anticipated ‘Issue 9’ update will be released in August 2022 along with supporting guidelines and interpretation documents.

When will auditing begin using BRCGS Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 9?

The first audits will be conducted against the new standard from 1 February 2023.

What has changed in BRCGS Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 9?

The food safety plan – HACCP

One momentous change that took place in December 2020 was the publication of the updated General Principles of Food Hygiene by Codex Alimentarius. This international standard contains the requirements for good hygiene practices and HACCP. To reflect these updates there are a few proposed changes to section 2 of the standard including the validation of the HACCP or Food Safety Plan.

Updates to food fraud and food defence

After food fraud and food defence was first introduced into the standard in issue 8, there have been some proposed improvements and changes included in the draft to protect against deliberate malicious contamination. Within section 4.2 Food Defence they have proposed that additional training requirements would be needed for those working on the threat assessment team. Then in section 5.4 they have included updated requirements to protect purchased materials against vulnerabilities in the supply chain.

We offer a guideline document, a foundation course and an intermediate course on the topic of TACCP / VACCP that can help you with your training needs.

Equipment

One of the main assets to any business is the equipment available to create products. A lot of focus has been placed on the control of these items to ensure effective management of hazards in the production environment. A collection of new clauses has been proposed for section 4 around having available specifications for all equipment, a documented procedure for commissioning equipment and other principles around hygienic design.

There is a lot of published guidance on hygienic design from organisations including European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG), Campden BRI and 3A. The design principles can be used during the designing, commissioning and maintenance of equipment to ensure they can be cleaned effectively and minimise the risk of product contamination.

Our practical guide for the cleaning and disinfection of food factories can assist you with these clauses.

Changes to environmental monitoring

There have been some proposed updates to the environmental monitoring section in 4.11.8 to provide clarity to organisations. These include having a documented sampling procedure and having action limits for the monitoring programme. These action limits are included to separate the food safety objectives defined by legislation for products and contaminant levels found the production area. A significant piece of work may need to be conducted to determine the appropriate action levels for individual facilities. After the action levels are determined, it is then expected that the monitoring results will be trended.

Updates to other sections

There are many other updates to sections of the standard that are subtler but no less significant to manufacturers, such as:

  • Reinforcing the importance and many elements of food safety culture
  • Focus on internal audits
  • A new section on animal primary conversion
  • Updated requirements for laboratory testing
  • Consistent references to “safety, authenticity, legality and quality”

What are the next steps?

These changes will all need to be worked on from the release date of the standard in August 2022 right through to first audits starting in February 2023. This leaves six months to implement the new clauses.

How can we help in the meantime?

We have organised a series of online and onsite seminars to provide a timely opportunity to hear about the many updates to the BRCGS standard and what those who are seeking certification must do to comply. The seminars are for anyone involved in food safety assurance and have been designed to help you gain an understanding of the key changes. See the event webpage for further details about the seminars, which take place between August and November.

Richard Leathers

About Richard Leathers

Richard Leathers joined Campden BRI in September 2011, working in the areas of HACCP and Quality Management Systems.

Read more...

Mair James

About Mair James

Mair joined Campden BRI during September 2019 as part of the Food Safety Management Systems team. Previously graduating from Cardiff Metropolitan University with a 1st class BSc (Hons) in Food Science and Technology

Read more...

BRCGS Issue 9 Update seminar

The seminar has been designed to enable delegates to gain an understanding of the key changes from version 8

View seminar

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