The food industry is highly competitive today, and companies are always looking for ways to set themselves apart from the competition. One way to do this is by obtaining a BRC certification. This global food safety certification is recognized by retailers as it shows that your company takes food safety seriously. To obtain a BRC certification, you must pass a BRC audit. This article will talk about what the BRC audit entails and how to create a BRC audit checklist to ensure you will earn and maintain this certification.
What is BRC?
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is a GFSI-benchmarked food safety standard that is recognized by retailers all over the world. Originating in the United Kingdom in 1998, the BRC certification demonstrates to your customers that you have a commitment to food safety and quality assurance.
To obtain a BRC certification, you must pass a BRC audit. This audit evaluates every aspect of your food safety program, from your policies and procedures to your physical plant and equipment.
Currently, there are 29,000 BRC-certified suppliers located across 130 different countries. In addition, the BRC Food Safety Standards have been polished throughout the years, having undergone eight total revisions.
Today, it serves as a global framework for promoting the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmarking. The most recent BRC food safety standard is separated into nine sections:
- Food safety and quality management system
- Food safety plan (HACCP)
- Senior management commitment
- Process control
- Product control
- Site standards
- Requirements for traded products
- High-care, high-risk, and ambient high-care production risk zones
The BRC food safety certification applies to suppliers, packaging facilities, food manufacturers, and raw materials and ingredients producers.
Why is BRC Important?
The BRC food safety certification is important because it shows your customers that you are committed to food safety. In addition, this certification is recognized by retailers worldwide, so it will help you expand your customer base.
In addition, the BRC food safety certification can help you improve your bottom line. Studies have shown that companies with a BRC certification have fewer product recalls, fewer customer complaints, and lower insurance premiums.
Furthermore, the BRC food safety certification can help you streamline your operations. The BRC food safety standard is a comprehensive framework covering all aspects of food safety, from your policies and procedures to your physical plant and equipment.
By obtaining a BRC certification, you can ensure that your food safety program is up to par with the latest industry standards.
How to Prepare for a BRC Audit?
Like other types of GFSI certifications, you can prepare your facility for a BRC audit by ensuring your recordkeeping practices are effective, efficient, and up-to-date. With that said, here are some tips to help you prepare for an upcoming BRC audit:
Perform a Self-assessment
Executing self-evaluation is a great way to identify any food safety or quality issues you may be dealing with in your facility. In addition, with self-assessment, you can uncover gaps during an audit performed by either one of your staff or a third-party inspector.
You can also use a superb management solution like DataMyte to help you hold an internal assessment.
Choose a Certification Body
The next thing you need to do is find a certification body accredited by the BRC. Once you have found an accredited CB, you need to schedule an audit with them.
You can also find one using the BRC’s directory. Make sure you choose one that is convenient for you and your team.
Set a Date
Once you’ve chosen the ideal auditor, make sure to schedule an audit date that works for both of you. Don’t wait too long to get your facility audited as it could put you at risk for non-compliance.
Be mindful of key considerations like which staff members should be present during the audit. Also, determine what time frame is best based on the nature of your operations and the time of year.
In addition, remember that any potential re-audits will be held six months or a year after the release of your BRC certification score.
Get Your Team Involved
Your team’s involvement is crucial for a successful BRC audit. Choose the ones you want to be present during the audit.
Make sure to keep them in the loop and let them know what’s expected. Knowing what to expect will help ease their anxiety and make the audit process smoother.
In addition, you should also get your senior management involved as well. Senior management will play a key role in BRC compliance. That means your leadership staff should be present during the opening and closing meetings.
Ensure All Documents are in Order
One of the most important things you can do to prepare for an audit is to ensure all your documents are in order. This includes your food safety manual, standard operating procedures (SOPs), and any other relevant policies and procedures.
Make sure these documents are up-to-date and easily accessible to you and your team. In addition, be sure to review them before the audit so you can answer any questions the auditor may have.
Conduct a Mock Audit
A mock audit is a great way to prepare for an upcoming BRC audit. By conducting a mock audit, you can identify any potential areas of non-compliance and take steps to correct them before the real audit.
A mock audit can also help you assess your team’s knowledge and readiness for the BRC audit. It’s a good way to gauge how well they understand the food safety procedures and whether they can follow them correctly.
Create a BRC Audit Checklist
Finally, when it comes to your BRC audit, you want to make sure that you are as prepared as possible. The best way to do this is by creating a checklist of everything you need to do to pass the audit.
A BRC audit checklist should contain everything from ensuring all documents are to conducting a mock audit. By having a checklist, you can ensure that you haven’t forgotten anything and that you’re as prepared as possible for the audit.
How DATAMYTE Can Help You With Your BRC Audit
DATAMYTE is a leading provider of innovative production and quality management solutions that help manufacturers ensure product safety, follow quality standards, and improve overall efficiency. When it comes to BRC audits, we offer a comprehensive solution that helps you prepare for and pass your audit with ease.
The DataMyte Digital Clipboard can help create a BRC audit solution that includes everything from a mock audit workflow to a comprehensive BRC audit checklist. We also offer a wide range of other quality management solutions that can help you improve your operations and ensure compliance.
With DataMyte Digital Clipboard, we can streamline your data capture and recordkeeping requirements. In addition, our software will let you conduct paperless BRC audits onsite and manage and monitor your audit data in real-time.
Contact us today to learn more about how DataMyte Digital Clipboard can help you with your BRC audit. We’ll be happy to discuss your specific needs and provide a tailored solution that meets your requirements.
Preparing for a BRC audit will require a lot of time and commitment. However, the effort will be worth it once your company becomes BRC certified. So be sure to follow the tips in this article to ensure a successful audit. And if you need any help, DATAMYTE is always here to assist you. Contact us today to learn more about our quality management solutions.