BRC Audit: The auditor picks a random invoice and then asks you to trace it back to the raw material. No problem. Right?
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is a trade association for the UK food retail industry created in 1992. It has published standards for best practices for the food and manufacturing industries for two decades. The BRC Global Food standard has been in existence since 1998, and in 2000 was the first food safety standard to be recognized by the GFSI organization, which means the standard meets their “benchmark” criteria for acceptance. The standard is designed as a “total quality management” program, and includes both food safety requirements and quality requirements which food manufacturers must meet in order to be certified.
With a GFSI recognized food safety certification, your organization can access those parts of the market that are only available to those that are certified. More and more manufacturers and retailers are protecting their product safety and brand reputation by requiring suppliers to achieve and maintain one of these certifications. With this certification comes audits.
Audits. Product safety and brand reputation.
BRC has conducted unannounced food safety audits as part of its scheme for some time now. Not a bad thing for those that are prepared. To go over the complete audit process from BRC would be way pass the scope of this article. In a nutshell, it’s about processes, traceability, documentation and ease of performing and presenting. Traceability solutions from a company like Coolearth can help.
Questions to consider. Current traceability options.
Scenario: The auditor picks a random invoice and then asks you to trace it back to the raw material.
- Can you trace your product adequately?
- Are your records organized in such a manner that allows easy and efficient retrieval?
- Does it show the interaction for all of the staff rather than just the QA representative?
- Can you account for all stock, returns, WIP, Sales?
- Are your procedures effective in doing what they are supposed to do?
- Can you satisfy the part of the audit, traceability and mass balance activity, within a certain time frame… say within 4 hours?
Other things to consider…
- Even if you have a “common” ingredient that is not used often but may be applied to a great number of products, would you still be able to identify?
- Can you or have you performed a mock recall? Documentation? Digitized?
- Can you trace back to raw material, processing aids and packaging, and then out to product brand and customers with pallet numbers and batch codes?
Coolearth Solutions and BRC Audits
Coolearth Software offers complete turn-key digital solutions for all phases of the ingredient tracking, inventory control, processing, packaging, warehousing, and distribution operations. Coolearth Software products excel at traceability and reporting.
Whistle SCE/WMS: Whistle virtually eliminates the tedious data entry associated with manual processing of warehouse transactions and ensures that the data is 100% accurate.
CaseForge: CaseForge reporting software is a robust, browser based – operating system agnostic, workstation for reporting new inventory at point of production. When combined with our Whistle solution, product cases and containers are produced as needed interfacing to an ERP system.
Inspec QA-QC: Free your QC from guesswork, tribal knowledge and inefficiency with integrated workflow, data collection and analytics designed specifically for Food & Beverage manufacturing.
Lot Recall: Includes both forward and backward lot traceability and serial number tracking, mock recall testing, establishment of recall-specific contacts for both suppliers and customers, storing of pre-defined documents and press releases associated with potential recalls, and the ability to email these documents directly to the intended recipients. When combined with our Coolearth BI and Inspec QA-QC solutions.
Coolearth BI: With digital data BI tools a company can now allow managers to monitor specific business data in real-time, anywhere, anytime. This gives managers a powerful tool with accurate data to make better decisions on what is happening now and to forecast for the future.
With the right tools opportunities for certified companies are expanding, while those for companies that are not certified are decreasing. By achieving a certification you are also protecting your product, customers and brand. Once you have implemented and are following the system based on the requirements of the standard you choose, you will be following best practices for food safety management.