BRC Certifications: What They Are & Why They Matter

BRC (British Retail Consortium) certifications—also referred to as BRCGS, or British Retail Consortium Global Standards—regulate standards in food and non-food industries. It is also known as the most difficult certification to obtain. This program, or scheme, is recognized worldwide because it addresses many different elements of safety. It attempts to unify food safety standards across the world. Additionally, BRC certifications were the first from the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) to be acknowledged by major retailers such as Walmart and Tesco. There are even companies on a global scale who won’t do business with companies who don’t have a BRC certification. With over 17,000 certified sites, these certifications are only becoming more in demand.

BRC Certifications in the Food Industry

Food safety under this certification scheme examines a company’s management system, hazards, fraud prevention, and quality of food products. Regarding management, BRCs ensure that the systems are functional and employees are upholding the proper standards. Part of this encompasses the risks of hazards, which are analyzed using a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system alongside a standard safety plan. Good-standing relationships with other companies are a key part in maintaining safety and preventing fraud. These help keep companies from ordering faulty materials. The quality of the products ordered, particularly when it comes to food, are vital for every aspect of a food supply chain—down to even the consumers who buy them.

BRC Certifications in Non-Food Industries

Similar to its purpose in the food industry, BRCs look at the same basic areas of a company to ensure what they produce is high quality and effective according to its strict standards. Other areas BRCs in the non-food industries look at include:

– Hygiene of storage and distribution facilities.

– Inspection of packaging systems.

– Management of resources (human and financial).

Benefits of Having a BRC Certification in Food Safety

Since this program contains the strictest standards out of other GFSI certifications, the reputation it has earned carries a respect with members of the food supply chain. Auditors qualified to administer inspections such as QIMA, for example, must undergo a specific kind of training before they are considered to be official by the GFSI. This further adds to the credibility obtaining a BRC certification brings. Other benefits of BRC certifications are:

– Protects a company’s brand and customers.

– Allows companies to partner with other organizations who specify BRC certifications as a requirement for business.

– Reduces errors (i.e. recalls, complaints from customers, rejected products).

– Can be used as a great marketing strategy.

Members of the Food Supply Chain & Consumers

The requirements for a BRC certification are significantly stricter because it protects both ends of the spectrum—members of the food supply chain and the consumers who purchase the certified products. Establishing high quality standards ensure that only high quality products are being manufactured. This in turn creates a trustworthy business relationship, as well as maintaining a system of increased standards that other industries strive for.

By Hemant Kumar

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