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BRC launches new issues of food and packaging standards

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is today (Monday) revealing the contents of the newest editions of two of its Global Standards – Food Safety and Packaging and Packaging Materials – ahead of their publication on 2 January 2008.

Currently 9,000 factories in over 80 countries are audited to the Global Standards, which help suppliers gain and maintain business with retailers by enabling them to demonstrate they are achieving the levels of quality and safety required by retailers and meeting the legal requirements of the markets they serve.

The Global Standard for Food Safety and the Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials have been substantially redrafted following an extensive review. The new issues of both Standards include:-

More detailed requirements to provide more guidance to users and certification bodies, enabling more consistent auditing

Much greater emphasis on companies demonstrating senior management commitment and competence in the application of hazard analysis which underpins effective product safety and quality management

A review of the process for certification to produce greater integrity in the implementation of the standard

In addition the Global Standard for Food Safety now incorporates: –

· Optional unannounced audits to allow companies to demonstrate confidence in their quality and safety systems

· More detailed coverage of issues identified by the industry as of growing importance – such as management of allergens and site security

The Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials has also been upgraded:-

The scope has been extended from food packaging to cover packaging for non-food products

At the request of customers of packaging producers, more detailed coverage is provided on the design and development process, customer review and site security

These are the first Standards to be published by the BRC's new Director of Global Standards and Technical Services, Dr Geoff Spriegel.

Geoff is a highly regarded figure in the food industry. As Technical Director of Sainsbury's, he was responsible for developing systems to ensure the safety and quality of Sainsbury's own label range sourced from hundreds of suppliers world wide.

Geoff Spriegel said: “A retailer's reputation is crucial to their success but with a wider range of goods being marketed under their own bands, possibly from further afield, the quality and safety of those products is crucial. The BRC's Global Standards provide greater assurance for retailers and open up new markets for suppliers who can promote themselves to retailers looking for independent endorsement of suppliers' operations.

Geoff Spriegel continued: “We will continue to strengthen and update the Standards to keep them ahead of changing technology and customer demands.”

Development of the BRC Global Standards began in 1998 with the publication of the BRC Standard for Food. The BRC now publishes four standards, which are updated at intervals to reflect customer needs and changes in technology – Global Standards for Food Safety (now Issue 5), Packaging (Issue 3), Consumer Products (Issue 2), Storage and Distribution (Issue 1).

The Global Standards for Food Safety and Packaging have each been redrafted by a multi – stakeholder group with representation from producers, retailers, industry experts and certification bodies. Both standards have also been circulated to international stakeholders to ensure comprehensive consultation.

Summaries of the changes to both standards compared with previous issues are available with the pack and more detailed information is available on the BRC Global Standards website.

The implementation date for both of the standards has been set at 1 July 2008.

Training courses offered by the BRC on awareness of the standards are being reviewed to ensure delegates achieve full understanding of the standard to enable more effective implementation by users and more consistent auditing by the certification bodies.

BRC will be holding an international conference of those certification bodies approved by the BRC on Thursday 31 January 2008 in London to ensure a full understanding of the new standards.

The Food Standard will be translated into 10 languages and the Packaging Standard into 3 languages. The translations will be available in March 2008.

Media Contacts:
BRC Press Office 020 7854 8924 Out of hours 07921 605544

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