BRC Issue 8: Hygiene requirements

Jordi Claraco Anguera, Food Safety Advisor

In this video, Jordi Claraco Anguera, food safety advisor, discusses how to meet the new hygiene requirements in Issue 8 of the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety. He covers the requirements for walkways (section 4.4.6), cleaning in place (clause 4.11.7) and environmental monitoring (section 4.11.8). He also talks about the new requirement for food business operators to understand the significance of results.

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.

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The BRC is a food safety standard that was initially created in the UK and is widely used in the rest of the world. The new version is going to be released in August 2018, this year, and it's going to be implemented at audit level in February 2019.

In Section 4.4.6. new requirements are set for elevated walkways. They must be designed to prevent contamination, easy to clean and correctly maintained. There are several possible sources of contaminants from walkways: from work along the walkways, debris on the floor for instance from inefficient cleaning or components of the of the walkway itself. BRC doesn't specify how to fulfil these requirements, so we’ve decided to take the approach of following the recommendations set out in industry guidelines. For instance, self-draining walkways with flat floor plates.

There are other changes, for instance, for CIP (cleaning in place). In clause 4.11.7. new requirements are set for CIP. The main one is that an assessment of the risk of cross contamination would need to be carried out when the liquid for the CIP cleaning is reused. Special attention should be paid when allergens handled and when the same CIP is used in different sections. Another change is that the alterations or additions to the CIPs would need to be authorised by a competent person and a record of the changes will need to be kept. Frequency of the monitoring will be based on a food safety risk assessment.

In the new BRC 8 there is also a new section specific to environmental monitoring. This section is 4.11.8. Whole areas containing open ready-to-eat products will need an environmental program for pathogens like, for instance, listeria or salmonella, also for spoilage microorganisms, like Pseudomonas and moulds. The environmental monitoring program will verify that the control measures in place and the site characteristics are suitable for manufacturing safe food. Control limits for the monitoring parameters will be set. There will also be corrective actions in place in case the results of the monitoring system do not meet the critical limits required. The results of the program need to be monitored and if the system is not working properly the program must be reviewed. Finally, it also needs to be taken into account that in the last BRC version there is also the requirement for the food business operator to understand the significance of the laboratory results.

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