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Use a BRC audit checklist to improve food safety

Learn about the benefits of getting BRC certified, and read about the new list of requirements introduced in the latest edition of the BRC regulations. Improve your documentation and access all your records at any time

What is a BRC audit?

A BRC food safety audit is an international standard in the form of a questionnaire which ensures compliance in food production. BRC audits help businesses meet the latest requirements of the BRC standard (edition 8).

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

1. What does a BRC audit measure?

2. What new standards are measured in a BRC audit?

2.1. Environmental monitoring

2.2. Food defense

2.3. Packaging and labeling of products

2.4. Reorganization of high-risk requirements

2.5. Traded products

3. What are the benefits of a BRC audit checklist?

4. The 7 main areas of BRC certification

5. A digital solution for BRC audits

What does a BRC audit measure?

The BRC Standard is a uniform verification of food safety and quality. It’s used to ensure compliance with the food industry’s legal and consumer protection regulations. The areas a BRC audit checklist should cover are:

  1. Measures for continuous quality and safety improvements
  2. Presence of a detailed food safety plan
  3. Results of 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 standards are measured in a BRC audit?

The BRC issue eight has released an updated list of standards that every business aiming to get BRC certified needs to know about. Even if you’re already been BRC certified in the past, you should familiarize yourself with the latest criteria if you’re looking to get recertified.

The new regulations included in BRC audits are:

Environmental monitoring

One of the newest additions to the BRC is its environmental monitoring requirements under section 4.11. It states that risk-based monitoring should be used in areas with open food containers and pre-prepared food in order to prevent the spread of foodborne pathogens. You can determine risk level according to the type of food and the likelihood of contamination. Then, collect samples for testing.

Food defense

Subsection 4.2, titled “Site Security and Food Defense”, involves mitigating the risk of food contamination. The new clause puts an emphasis on annually reviewing risk assessments and current procedures that seek to protect against unhygienic practices.

Packaging and labeling of products

Under subsection 5.1, there are more precise requirements for the labeling of animal products. You’re also required to make sure that the ingredients contained within those products are consistent with the way they are marketed. If any medicinal ingredients have been added to these products, there shall be no cross-contamination with other products and the dosage must match the label.

Reorganization of high-risk requirements

Information pertaining to high-risk, high-care, and ambient high-care production zones can be found in the revised section 8. The previous BRC audit information, found in sections 4 and 7, has been removed and condensed in a new section 8.

Traded products

Information 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

What are the benefits of a BRC audit checklist?

By employing a BRC audit checklist, you will profit from a steady increase in safety culture. You’ll be able to identify weaknesses in production. You also receive the following six benefits

  1. Obtain an internationally recognized certification
  2. Early defect detection and optimal corrective action
  3. Fewer risks in food manufacturing
  4. Minimize risk and reduce complaints
  5. Easily monitor and enforce food regulations
  6. Set yourself apart from the competition

Continuous improvement is a goal for any company, whether it’s a small business or a large-scale corporate monopoly. It’s also pursued across industries that you wouldn’t normally think of as having a bottom line, like healthcare and nonprofit organizations.

These industries 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.

BRC certification shows consumers that your business meets strict quality and safety requirements as outlined in BRC issue 8. Essentially, a BRC certification reassures customers that if they eat at your restaurant, they won’t go home with food poisoning.

The 7 main areas of BRC certification

A BRC audit checklist used to ensure food safety should emphasize 7 main aspects. Those aspects are:

  1. Focus on company management – All company executives should be responsible for implementing and continuously improving food safety processes.
  2. HACCP (food safety plan)HACCP and its implementation helps to identify and minimize risks in food production.
  3. ISO 9001 (food safety & quality)ISO 9001 compliance is required to document all food production processes and keep staff aware of all guidelines.
  4. Clearly determining location expectations – Determine the ideal location for food production by considering necessary standards and guidelines.
  5. Product control in all areas – Implement various controls such as product and allergen testing.
  6. Constant process monitoring – All implemented controls must be regularly documented and monitored.
  7. Hygiene & PPE requirementsStaff trainings should be accessible and communicate adequate knowledge about PPE use and hygiene standards

A digital solution for BRC audits

With a digital BRC audit checklist, you can easily conduct inspections using your tablet or smartphone – online or offline. With the desktop version of Lumiform, you can create your own checklists and then analyze the data collected.

These audit checklists help you comply more easily with changing legal requirements for process documentation. The app guides you through every checklist and documents results automatically.

Lumiform also offers more than 12,000 ready-made templates to help companies get started digitally in no time.

All results, images, and comments are automatically bundled into a digital report. Comprehensive analyses help you to identify inefficient areas in your company more quickly and continuously improve your auditing and inspection processes.

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Person cleaning the kitchen before a BRC food safety audit
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