BRC - issue 8: What's new for environmental monitoring?
BRC Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 8 was released in August 2018 and the first audits will be conducted against the new standard from 1 February 2019. A new subsection (4.11.8 "Environmental monitoring") has been created that consolidates the clauses on environmental monitoring requirements from issue 7 of the standard, to help companies that lack systems and controls in this area. The new standard requires companies to have in place an environmental monitoring program for pathogens (e.g. Listeria, Salmonella) and spoilage microorganisms (e.g. Pseudomonas, yeast, moulds), for all areas containing open and ready to eat products. This requirement includes high risk, high care and low risk products such as fruits, nuts, herbs, bread, salads, confectionery, smoked fish and meat.
Your environmental monitoring program should verify that both your control measures and site are suitable to manufacture safe food. You must identify any contamination hazards and vectors, eliminate them where possible and risk assess them. You then need to define your sampling locations, frequency of sampling and target organisms. The results of your environmental program need to be monitored and reviewed at least once a year.