Published 26 Aug 2022
What is a BRC Audit?
A BRC Audit, or BRC Food Safety Audit, is the British Retail Consortium’s official assessment of a food manufacturer’s adherence to the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety. This practice, which thoroughly examines all processes and documents involved in manufacturing food is conducted by an accredited certification body. BRC audits have a grading system that depends on whether the particular visit is announced or unannounced, it is also mandatory but food sectors will be notified accordingly. This ensures that food-producing companies strictly follow compliance in their daily operations.
This digitized self-assessment template can be used by managers to help assess how close is the business to meeting the requirements of BRC version 8. Managers can use this BRC audit checklist as a guide for the following:
- Using scoring, evaluate the current standing of the business according to the BRC 8 standard.
- Enter notes and assign tasks to proper departments or personnel to correct gaps found.
- Conduct regular audits and track the business’ progress towards fulfilling the requirements of BRC.
This article covers:
- What is BRC;
- Why is BRC audit important;
- Key focus areas of BRC;
- How do I prepare for BRC audit;
- Technology solutions to help you implement and maintain BRC certification; and
- BRC audit checklists you can download and use.
What is BRC?
BRC stands for the British Retail Consortium, a company formed by retailers which created a standard for food safety intended for businesses involved in food production.
Why is BRC Audit Important?
The BRC has recently released the latest version of their auditing code, Issue 8, and audits in accordance with it began on February 1st, 2019. Gaining certification will prove that the business is operating according to a recognized international standard for food safety. Being certified will also be advantageous for businesses as it can make partnerships move likely with other businesses that recognize or even require BRC certification.
What does British Retail Consortium focus on?
The latest food safety version of BRC, issue 8, highlights the following requirements:
Senior management commitment – leaders of companies should help ensure the implementation and continuous improvement of food safety processes
- HACCP (food safety plan) – implementing HACCP can help identify and manage risks in food production
- Food safety and quality management system – proper documentation of processes in place help manage the safety of food production and keep staff properly informed
- Site standards – setting and maintaining the ideal site for food production
- Product control – setting controls in place such as allergen management and product testing
- Process control – this is ensuring that the documented HACCP plan is consistently followed to maintain product quality
- Personnel – ensure that employees are trained, wearing PPE, and follow proper hygiene
- High Risk, High Care, and Ambient High Care Production Risk Zones – ensure that products susceptible to pathogen contamination have control measures to improve safety
- Traded Products – ensure sites that purchase and sell food products properly process and pack them to avoid contamination
The BRC certification process involves a third party audit on-site where all parts of the requirements are assessed. Depending on the assessed grade a re-certification audit will be required every 6 or 12 months.
How do I Prepare for BRC Audit?
- Prepare proper documentation and records that prove the consistent implementation of food safety management. This will show that a business is indeed meeting requirements to get certified for the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety.
- Review and be familiar with the latest BRC version.
- Conduct internal audits in order to identify gaps and improve on them.
- Get in touch with a third-party auditor who will conduct the BRC audit for certification.
SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) can help streamline your data capture and recordkeeping requirements. iAuditor’s mobile app lets you conduct paperless food safety inspections onsite. Look into photo evidence and key findings gathered during inspections and view trends anytime via the web platform. You can also use iAuditor for complying with other international standards, such as ISO 22000.
To save you time, we have created these digital templates you can download and customize for free to assist with your BRC food certification requirements.
BRC certification is a recognition given to businesses that have been audited and found to have met the BRC global standard for food safety.
Both schemes require a regularly evaluated and continuously improved upon: 1) food safety management system; 2) good manufacturing, distribution and agricultural practices; and 3) HACCP system.
BRC is more prescriptive on procedures and guidelines to follow for food safety while FSSC 22000 emphasises a framework approach helping a business implement their own system. FSSC 22000 expands upon ISO 22000, so for organizations already down this path, it may make sense to continue with FSSC 22000 certification.
Top Digital BRC Food Safety Audit Checklists
Use this HACCP plan template to evaluate how your system identifies and controls food safety hazards. You can use this template to:
- Identify the Critical Control Point/s (CCP) and name hazards.
- Record the procedures you will follow if a critical limit is exceeded
- Generate and save reports on the spot.
This supplier audit checklist can be used to audit supplier facility. The template can serve as a guide for the inspector to evaluate the following areas:
- Management Responsibility
- Sanitation, handling and storage, infrastructure, maintenance, etc.
- HACCP and Regulatory compliance
This GMP food manufacturing audit template was based on 21 CFR Part 110. This can help as a guide when conducting food manufacturing audits. Site Supervisors can use this to:
- Make sure that staff are trained on sanitary procedures and that equipment used and process & controls follow GMP.
- All SafetyCulture (iAuditor) reports are secured in cloud storage and can be conveniently accessed anytime