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BRC Audit Checklist for Proper Documentation & Records

Learn about the benefits of getting BRC certified, and read about the new list of requirements introduced in the latest edition of issue 8. Use a BRC checklist for your audit to access all records for certification at any time.

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What Is a BRC audit?

A BRC food safety audit is an international standard, implemented as a questionnaire, to check compliance in food production. BRC audits help to meet the latest requirements of the BRC standard (edition 8).

The global food standard was developed to define food safety based on safety, quality, and operational criteria. This standardized certification is used by retailers, restaurateurs, and food manufacturers to evaluate their suppliers.

This article deals with:

1. BCR standard 8 requirements

2. The six benefits of a BCR audit

3. The 7 main takeaways of the BRC-Standard 8

4. Additional audits in the new BCR standard issue

5. Automating BRC audits

Restaurant worker preparing for a BRC food safety audit

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Requirements for the BRC Standard

The BRC Standard serves as a uniform verification of food safety and quality. On this basis, it is ensured that the food industry’s required legal regulations and consumer protection measures are complied with. The principal requirements for the BRC standard are listed below:

  1. Continuous improvement of quality and safety
  2. Detailed food safety plan
  3. Regular internal audits
  4. Structured organization of suppliers
  5. Tracking and documentation of all processes and procedures
  6. Appropriate hygiene regulations
  7. Careful separation of known allergens
  8. Layout, floorplan, and organization
  9. Labeling of all food products
  10. Staff training in food safety

What New Additional Will be Audited in the BRC Standard 8?

The BRC issue eight has come out with their newest list of additions that every business looking to get BRC certified needs to know about. Even if you’re already familiar with the previous edition, it’ll still serve you well to get a thorough understanding of the latest criteria if you’re looking to get recertified.

So let’s take a look at the BRC newest add-ons:

Environmental Monitoring
One of the newest additions to the BRC is its environmental monitoring requirements under section 4.11. Under this section, it states that risk-based monitoring should be assessed in areas with open food containers and preprepared food to detect and prevent the spreading of foodborne pathogens. The risk level is determined by the type of food and the corresponding likelihood of becoming contaminated by spoilage microorganisms. Once this has been determined, samples should be collected for testing.

Food Defense
Subsection 4.2 titled “Site Security and Food Defense” gives a rundown on how to mitigate food contamination risk within food storage and preparation sites. The new clause puts an emphasis on annually reviewing of risk assessments and current procedures that seek to protect against unhygienic practices.

Packaging and Labeling of Products
Under subsection 5.1, additional requirements have been added to ensure precise and careful labeling of animal products and that the ingredients contained within those products are appropriate to the species and breed it’s being marketed to. In addition, the clause also emphasizes that if any medicinal ingredients have been added to the formula, then there shall be no cross-contamination with other products and that the dosage matches the label.

Reorganization of High-Risk Requirements
Information pertaining to high-risk, high-care, and ambient high-care production zones can be found in a revised section 8. Basically, all information regarding the prevention of contaminated food products with a high risk of spreading foodborne illnesses has been taken out of sections 4 and 7 and condensed in a new section 8.

Traded Products
Everything regarding traded food products can be found in section 9. This section applies to businesses that buy, sell, or store food products on site but who don’t partake in the manufacturing of those food products.

Chef cooking in a restaurants kitchen

BRC Audit: Your Top 6 Benefits

With the BRC Standard, you will profit from a steady increase in product safety culture. You get more clarity about problems and weak points in production. You also receive the following six benefits

  1. Profit from an internationally recgonized standard
  2. Take advantage of early defect detection and optimal corrective action
  3. Lower risks in food manufacturing
  4. Minimize risk and reduce complaints
  5. Food regulations are more easily monitored and enforced
  6. Compliance with BRC certification sets you apart from the competition

Continuous improvement is more likely than not on the agenda of every business expenditure—from small businesses to large-scale corporate monopolies and even industries that you wouldn’t normally think of as having a bottom line like healthcare and nonprofit organizations.

But the industries you normally wouldn’t think of as a profit-based trade do inadvertently supply the economy with a robust set of skills, products, and services. That’s why getting a BRC certification could give your business a competitive edge in a market already heavily saturated with food products trying to leave their mark on the customer’s tastebuds.

This certification will tell consumers that your business has been audited by the BRC and has met all associated requirements and international standards stated in issue 8. Essentially, a BRC certification is there to reassure customers that if they eat at your restaurant, they won’t go home with food poisoning.

The 7 Main Priority Areas of BRC

The current BRC standard on food safety puts emphasis on 7 main aspects. Here are the main requirements:

  1. Focus on company management commitment - All company executives are responsible for implementing and continuously improving all food safety processes.
  2. HACCP (Food Safety Plan) - HACCP and its implementation in companies helps to identify certain risks in food production and minimize them.
  3. ISO 9001 (Food Safety & Quality) - ISO 9001 is required to document all processes regarding the safety of food production and keep staff informed about all necessary guidelines.
  4. Clearly Determining Expectations regarding Location - The ideal location for food production should be determined in regard to all necessary standards and guidelines.
  5. Product Control in All Areas - Various controls such as product and allergen testing must be implemented.
  6. Constant Process Monitoring - The implemented controls must be regularly documented and monitored.
  7. Hygiene & PPE Requirements - Staff trainings should be accessible to ensure adequate knowledge about the handling of PPE, hygiene standards etc.

A digital solution for BRC audits

With a digital checklist for a BRC audit, you can easily check through via tablet or smartphone - online or offline. Using the desktop version, you can create standardized checklists and then analyze the data collected.

With Lumiform, you can comply more easily with the constantly increasing legal requirements for the documentation of processes by documenting with the mobile app via smartphone or tablet and being guided by the system through all documentation processes. Clean, transparent documentation helps to avoid high fines. The easiest way to do that is with a digital solution such as Lumiform.

Digitise checklists and internal processes with Lumiform:

  • In addition, we offer more than 9,000 ready-made templates to help companies get started digitally in no time.
  • All results, images and comments are automatically bundled in a digital report.
  • Comprehensive analyses help you to identify inefficient areas in your company more quickly and thus to continuously improve your auditing and inspection processes.

Person cleaning the kitchen before a BRC food safety audit

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