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BRC Audit Checklists

Published 30 Aug 2021

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. 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. This practice thoroughly examines all processes and documents involved in manufacturing food. The BRC has a grading system which depends on whether it’s announced or unannounced. Audits are mandatory but food sectors will be notified if the next visit will be announced or unannounced. This ensures that food producing companies strictly follow compliance in its daily operations.

This article covers:

  1. What is BRC;
  2. What is BRC certification;
  3. Why is BRC audit important;
  4. The similarities and differences between BRC and FSSC 2200;
  5. Key focus areas of BRC;
  6. How do I prepare for BRC audit;
  7. Technology solutions to help you implement and maintain BRC certification; and
  8. 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.

What is BRC Certification?

BRC certification is a recognition given to businesses that have been audited and found to have met the BRC global standard for food safety.

Why is BRC Audit Important?

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 business as it can make partnerships move likely with other businesses that recognize or even require BRC certification.

BRC vs FSSC 22000

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.

What does BRC focus on?

The latest food safety version of BRC, issue 8, highlights the following requirements:

  1. Senior management commitment – leaders of companies should help ensure the implementation and continuous improvement of food safety processes

  2. HACCP (food safety plan) – implementing HACCP can help identify and manage risks in food production
  3. Food safety and quality management system – proper documentation of processes in place help manage the safety of food production and keep staff properly informed
  4. Site standards – setting and maintaining the ideal site for food production
  5. Product control – setting controls in place such as allergen management and product testing
  6. Process control – this is ensuring that the documented HACCP plan is consistently followed to maintain product quality
  7. Personnel – ensure that employees are trained, wearing PPE, and follow proper hygiene
  8. High Risk, High Care, and Ambient High Care Production Risk Zones – ensure that products susceptible to pathogen contamination have control measures to improve safety
  9. 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.

iAuditor by SafetyCulture 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.

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.

SafetyCulture staff writer

Erick Brent Francisco

Erick Brent Francisco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. As a content specialist, he is interested in learning and sharing how technology can improve work processes and workplace safety. His experience in logistics, banking and financial services, and retail helps enrich the quality of information in his articles.

Erick Brent Francisco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. As a content specialist, he is interested in learning and sharing how technology can improve work processes and workplace safety. His experience in logistics, banking and financial services, and retail helps enrich the quality of information in his articles.