What’s new? BRC Global Standard for Packaging - Issue 6
The BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials was the first packaging standard to be recognised by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). Many food and drink manufacturers and retailers require certification to the standard as a pre-requisite from suppliers, so it is widely used in the UK and worldwide. Packaging suppliers are also keen to comply with the standard as it can provide a competitive advantage when securing supply contracts in the food and drink supply chain.
On 1 August the new BRC standard - Issue 6 was published. Auditing against the new standard will begin from 1 February 2020. So, if you’re a manufacturer or retailer who requires certification, BRC has allowed a six-month transition period to meet its requirements.
But what changes do you need to be aware of?
To help you prepare for implementation and auditing against the new standard, here is an overview of the main changes in Issue 6.
The most obvious change to the standard is the merging of two hygiene categories to provide just one set of requirements for all packaging manufacturers. Additionally, there are two more optional sections regarding “traded product requirements” and “pellet, flake and powder control”.
The new standard focuses more on product quality and not just product safety. As a consequence, Hazard Analysis Risk Assessment (HARA) will be used more broadly, not just to assess product safety risks but also to determine quality hazards. This may result in quality control points even if the company doesn’t have any critical control points.
In section one, senior management must be committed to the development of product safety and quality culture. This requires senior management to develop a plan that allows continual improvement which can be reviewed and audited against measurable objectives. The plan should encourage employee communication and ownership from the bottom to the top. Development of the plan should be supported by departments such as HR, marketing, IT and procurement as they might also have an impact on product quality and safety. Changes within this section highlight the importance of product security and defence systems, from raw material to finished product. It covers this with the implementation of review processes and ensuring the effectiveness of hazard and risk management systems.
Section three of the standard is enriched with clauses. Clause 3.6 covers ‘Corrective and preventative action with the intent to prevent recurrence of issues’ and clause 3.8 deals with ‘Product authenticity, claims and chains’. There is also more focus on cyber security, product defence, internal audits and supplier approval.
A new clause in section four regarding environmental monitoring now requires risk-based programmes to be in place to ensure cleaning operations are effective. Position statement number P558 is available on the BRC website to support this new clause.
You’ll find in section five there is a continued emphasis on product quality. The standard increases stringency for the documentation of line clearance (the process of clearing a production line/work area) by including the roles of persons involved, areas where materials can become trapped, validation of line clearance and a sign-off section for continuing production. It also expands the requirements for testing methodologies.
In addition to the above high-level changes, there are other additional updates which include:
- ensuring procedures for inspection of goods on arrival and acceptance of raw materials, are in place
- control of elevated walkways to minimise the risk of contamination
- ensuring procedures for unavoidable use of glass, ceramic and brittle plastic are in place
- controlling usage and storage of sharps and metal
- assessing suitable pest management programs
- changes to equipment settings (which are critical to product safety and legality) are performed only by trained and authorised staff
- ensuring procedure to address the transfer of client requirements to the site’s own system is in place, and
- ensuring procedure for dispatch transport of goods is in place
In section six, training requirements are extended to product defence for all staff performing tasks affecting product safety, legality and quality. This section also makes the rules of personal hygiene clearer and more detailed.
Meet the requirements
Are you a packaging manufacturer or auditor? If so, you can gain a comprehensive insight to the changes to BRC Issue 6 and find out what your business will have to do to comply by attending our seminar on 15 October. Search ‘BRC Packaging Issue 6 Briefing’ at campdenbri.co.uk to find out more.
We have a range of on-site packaging analysis and testing facilities. This allows us to investigate your packaging by conducting physical, microbiological, chemical, sensory and taint analysis. We can also advise you on legal compliance and ensure you are in the best position to comply with BRC Issue 6.
We are also exploring alternative materials as part of a new member-funded research project. The research will establish the technical challenges faced by packaging/food companies in reducing or removing single-use plastics so they can make tactical, immediate changes. Keep up to date with this project by attending our Packaging MIG meetings, visiting the website or by getting in touch.
Contact us to find out what the new packaging standard means for you and how we can help you meet the requirements.