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BRC Issue 8 is Here!

Posted by Jeff Chilton

Jul 10 2018
Jul 10 2018

Are you ready for BRC Issue 8? The new BRC Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 8 is here! The final Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 8 was published August 1st. All GFSI standards are required to be updated at least every three years for the benchmarking process. These updates provide the GFSI Program Owners the opportunity to continually improve their standards and meet updated benchmarking requirements.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about BRC Issue 8

Key areas of focus during development included:

  • encouraging development of product safety culture

  • expanding the requirements for environmental monitoring to reflect the increasing importance of this technique

  • encouraging sites to further develop systems for security and food defense

  • adding clarity to the requirements for high-risk, high-care and ambient high-care production risk zones

  • providing greater clarity for sites manufacturing pet food

  • ensuring global applicability and bench-marking to the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)

Specifically, there are two new sections that have been added to the standard. Section 8 addresses High Risk, High Care and Ambient High Care Requirements to demonstrate that sites and process controls are operating sufficiently to prevent pathogen contamination of products. Section 9 addresses Requirements of the Traded Goods voluntary module to assure procedures for traded goods approval and product specifications conformance results in safe, quality and legal products. Non-conformities related to this section will now count against the overall grade for the audit. Pet Food Manufacturing is now included in Module 5.

Additional BRC Issue 8 requirements include new processes for a Whistleblower System, Cyber Security and Internal Audits completed at least four times per year. The increased focus on Food Safety Culture should provide substantial impetus for the industry to get serious about adopting, measuring and sustaining a Food Safety Culture that includes senior management commitment and emphasis on employees doing the right thing every time even when no one is watching. The enhanced requirements for Environmental Monitoring will require sites to effectively look for pathogens in the food manufacturing environment and prevent contamination of food products due to environmental pathogens.

When do I have to be ready?
BRC Global Standard for Food Safety audits will be conducted to the Issue 8 requirements starting February 1, 2019. However, you certainly don’t want to wait until then or your next recertification audit to start preparing. Individuals and sites are encouraged to complete BRC Conversion Training now to become familiar with the new requirements. Alchemy Professional Services Consulting division will offer classes and on-site training options with our certified BRC Approved Training Partner consultants along with another ATP’s. There will also be an online version of the BRC Conversion Training available later this fall. 

What should I do next?
Completing the BRC Conversion Training is the first step in the process. With awareness of the new requirements, sites can then begin converting their BRC Programs and creating new programs required to comply with the Issue 8 requirements. This process should be completed by all BRC certified sites prior to the February 2019 date. Sites are encouraged to complete gap assessments or internal audits to the final Issue 8 standards prior to the end of 2018 to assure readiness for future audits. 

 

Final Thoughts on BRC Issue 8

SQF went through similar changes this year with conversion to SQF Edition 8 for the new SQF Food Safety Codes and SQF Quality Codes that were effective 1/2/18. Many sites have seen increased quantities of non-conformances during their recertification audits due to inadequate preparation for the updated standards. This should be a lesson for BRC certified sites to learn to prevent similar reductions in audit scores by being fully prepared for the updated standard.

Take time to learn and make the changes necessary before it’s too late. You will better protect your company and consumers by proactively meeting the updated requirements and not waiting for an auditor to tell you what you did wrong next year. 

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