BRCGS Agents and Brokers Certification

As an agent or broker in the food industry, ensuring the safety, quality and legal compliance of the products you manage is paramount. The BRCGS Agents and Brokers certification offers a solution that meets these needs, recognized by major market players. Here are the benefits of this certification, the criteria to be met, the acquisition process and the renewal modalities, providing you with the necessary information to make an informed decision about its integration into your operations.

What is the BRCGS Agents and Brokers certification ?

The BRCGS Agents and Brokers certification represents a global standard dedicated to entities operating as intermediaries in the supply chain without direct interaction with food, packaging, or consumer products. This category includes agents, brokers, importers, exporters, distributors, and online platforms.

Belonging to the BRCGS means joining "Brand Reputation through Compliance of Global Standards", an initiative designed by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), an association of leading British retail brands. This certification is also validated by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), an international organization committed to improving food safety.

These entities are required to guarantee the safety, quality, and legal compliance of the products they manage, also promoting clear traceability of batches and exchanges. They undertake to scrupulously follow the regulations and contractual conditions related to their sector of activity.

Obtaining the BRCGS Agents and Brokers certification means that a company can prove to its customers, suppliers and competent authorities that it maintains a robust system for the management of safety and product quality, in line with industry best practices.

Certification is granted following an audit by an accredited certification body, which is based on specific criteria of the standard. Key areas assessed include :

  • Management commitment
  • Product Safety and Quality Management System
  • Management of suppliers and subcontractors
  • Monitoring the quality of products
  • Incident prevention and management, reminders, and alerts

Valid for one year, the certification can be renewed through a follow-up audit. The recognition of the BRCGS Agents and Brokers certification is broad, being valued by various market players, including distributors, manufacturers, and the restaurant industry.

Which organizations offer BRCGS Agents and Brokers certification ?

To obtain the BRCGS Agents and Brokers certification, it is essential to contact an accredited certification body, responsible for verifying your company’s compliance with the criteria established by this standard. Not all certification bodies are the same: they differ in terms of quality, costs and deadlines. Key considerations for making the right choice include :

Recognition of the certification body

Ensure that the selected certification body is officially recognised by BRCGS and has an accreditation issued by a competent authority such as COFRAC in France or UKAS in the UK. You can find the list of accredited organizations on the BRCGS website. It is also a good idea to ask customers, suppliers or colleagues about the certification body’s reputation.

Auditor competence

The audit is a crucial phase for obtaining the BRCGS Agents and Brokers certification. It reviews the compliance of your product quality and safety management practices. It is therefore essential that the auditors assigned to this task are highly qualified, experienced and well informed of the requirements of the standard.

The cost and time of certification

The rates and deadlines for issuing the BRCGS Agents and Brokers certification vary according to the chosen organization, but also according to the specificities of your company (size, complexity, degree of preparation). It is recommended to solicit and compare several proposals, requesting explicit and complete quotes. Also inquire about the terms of payment, additional fees, possibilities for postponement or cancellation and remedies in case of disagreement or non-compliance.

Finally, ensure that the certifying body undertakes to meet the deadlines for the completion of the audit and the delivery of the certificate.

What are the specific requirements of the BRCGS Agents and Brokers certification for my industry ?

The BRCGS Agents and Brokers certification is intended for companies acting as intermediaries in the supply chain, without direct contact with food, packaging or consumer products. This certification recognizes the diversity of intermediaries, depending on the type of products managed, the services provided, and the targeted customers. It therefore proposes requirements adapted to each situation.

Product categories

Certification encompasses various product categories :

  • Food products : this includes everything from raw materials to processed products, as well as fruits and vegetables.
  • Packaging materials : this applies to materials at all levels (primary, secondary and tertiary) and raw materials used in their production.
  • Pet food : specifically for pets.
  • Consumer products : this covers a wide range, including personal hygiene products, household items, textiles, stationery, and toys.

For each category, specific requirements are established for the management of suppliers and subcontractors, as well as the management of products, incidents, recalls and alerts.

Types of service

The services offered by intermediaries vary and are classified as follows :

  • Basic services : purchase and sale of products without modification or storage.
  • Extended services : include temporary storage, repackaging, labeling, or product assembly.
  • Advanced services : involves the purchase and sale of products with processing, mixing, cooking, or freezing.
  • Specific requirements are defined for each type of service, concerning the control of processes and products, as well as the management of premises and equipment.

Types of customers

The certification approach takes into account the type of clients served by intermediaries, based on the level of product and market risk. There are two categories of clients :

  • End customers : direct consumers of products, such as households, restaurants, or hotels.
  • Intermediate customers : companies buying products for resale or use in their production, such as distributors, manufacturers, or wholesalers.

The standard sets clear requirements for communication, documentation and compliance with regulations and contracts.

What are the steps to obtain a BRCGS Agents and Brokers certification ?

To obtain the BRCGS Agents and Brokers certification, several steps await you. Here is a concise presentation of these steps. Remember, we are here to offer help and advice if needed.

Step 1 : Download the standard and interpretation guidelines

Start by downloading the standard and interpretation guidelines from the BRCGS website. These documents are essential to navigate through the certification process. They list the specific requirements for each product category, service type and customer, while helping you understand and apply those requirements.

Step 2 : Learn the Standard

Next, train in the standard to understand the auditor’s perspective. Choose training tailored to your needs and those of your team. BRCGS offers different training options: online, face-to-face or customized. This training will inform you about the content, scope and benefits of the standard, as well as audit evaluation criteria.

Step 3 : Complete a Self-Assessment

Conduct a self-assessment of your company to measure your compliance with the requirements of the standard. Use the self-assessment tool on the BRCGS help and advice page. This tool supports you in evaluating your product quality and safety management system. Self-assessment helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to plan corrective actions if necessary.

Step 4 : Choose a certification body

Finally, select an accredited certification body to audit your company according to the criteria of the standard. Consult the list of accredited organizations on the BRCGS website to compare the quality, cost and time of their services. Ensure their recognition, competence, and availability.

Step 5 : Pass the audit and get the certificate

The last step involves passing an audit and receiving the certificate. The audit, carried out directly on your site by a competent auditor, aims to check compliance with the required standards. Depending on the size and complexity of your company, this audit can take one to two days. Following this, the auditor gives you a report outlining the potential non-conformities and the corrective measures to be applied. If you pass the audit, you get the BRCGS Agents and Brokers certificate, valid for 12 months.

How much does a BRCGS Agents and Brokers certification cost ?

The cost of a BRCGS Agents and Brokers certification varies considerably according to several criteria: the size and complexity of your business, the products you manage, the services offered, the targeted customers, as well as the chosen certification body. Since fees can differ greatly, it is essential to consider several factors to better estimate the amount to be expected :

The cost of the standard and training

The first step towards obtaining certification involves the acquisition of the BRCGS standard and interpretation guidelines on their official website, at your expense. In addition, essential training on the standard and auditor’s perspective is required for you and your team. BRCGS offers various training formats (online, face-to-face or customized) to meet your needs. Prices vary depending on the format, duration and training program.

The cost of the audit and certificate

The costs associated with auditing and obtaining the certificate are determined by the certification body and may vary depending on several elements, such as the size and complexity of your business, the type of products and services offered, and your clientele. These costs include the auditor’s travel and accommodation expenses, time spent on the site, and the preparation of the audit report. There is also the cost of registering and publishing the certificate on the BRCGS website. It is advisable to ask for several quotes to compare not only the prices but also the quality of service and the deadlines offered.

The cost of maintenance and renewal

Maintenance and recertification require a budget for self-assessment, corrective actions and the new annual audit. Consideration should also be given to indirect costs, such as time spent preparing the audit, updating documents and interactions with the certification body. Also plan for possible updates to the standard, which may require adjustments to your product quality and safety management system.

How long does it take to obtain a BRCGS Agents and Brokers certification ?

The length of time it takes to obtain BRCGS Agents & Brokers certification varies depending on many factors, such as the availability of the certification body, the preparation of your business, and the results of the audit. While there is no standard time frame, you can estimate the time required by considering the following :

The audit planning time frame

To plan the audit, you need to choose a certification body, request and compare quotes, and then set a date for the audit. This process may vary depending on the time of year, market demand, and the availability of the certification body. It is recommended to initiate these steps as soon as possible and to provide a margin for any eventuality. Preparations can take from a few weeks to several months.

The time required to prepare the audit

This corresponds to the time required to organize and verify your product safety and quality management system according to the criteria of the standard. This time varies depending on the size and complexity of your business, the type of products and services you offer, as well as your customers. It is recommended to do a self-assessment, participate in training, and make corrections if necessary. The preparation may take from a few months to more than a year.

The deadline for completion of the audit and issuance of the certificate

This is the time required to perform the on-site audit, receive the auditor’s report, and obtain the BRCGS Agents and Brokers certificate. This time depends on the duration of the audit, the number and severity of non-conformities found, and the processing time by the certification body. It is advisable to follow the auditor’s recommendations and provide supporting documents within the required timeframe. This process can take several weeks.

Is there a renewal required for the BRCGS Agents and Brokers certification ?

The BRCGS Agents and Brokers certification requires an annual renewal, starting on the date of the initial audit and valid for 12 months. To maintain this certification, a new audit is required every year, ensuring your continued compliance with the required standards. Renewal is crucial to maintaining the trust of your customers, suppliers and authorities, and to affirm your commitment to product safety and quality. Here’s how to renew your certification :

Step 1 : Contact your certification body

Start by contacting your certification body at least three months before your certificate expires. Provide your contact information, product categories, the type of service and customer you are targeting, and any significant changes in your business since the last audit. Then request a quote for the next audit and schedule a date.

Step 2 : Prepare the new audit

Then prepare for the audit by reviewing your product quality and safety management system. Make sure it always meets the standards. Do a self-assessment using the tool on the BRCGS help page, which will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and take corrective action if necessary. Also stay informed of changes in the standard that may require adjustments from you.

Step 3 : Pass the new audit and receive the new certificate

The last step is to pass the audit and receive your new certificate. The audit, carried out on site, may be carried out by the same auditor or another. The duration of the audit varies between one and two days depending on the size and complexity of your business. After the audit, you will receive a report indicating any non-conformities and necessary corrective actions. If the audit is successful, a new BRCGS Agents and Brokers certificate is issued, valid for a period of 12 months.

La procédure classique

Revue documentaire

Voici la liste des documents nécessaires pour l'ouverture du dossier :
Proforma ou facture finale
Fiche descriptive pour chaque code de nomenclature
Rapports de test ou certificats d'analyse pour chaque code de nomenclature
Certificat de qualité ISO 9001 ou équivalent
Déclaration d'importation à demander à votre acheteur (selon la destination)

1

Revue documentaire

Voici la liste des documents nécessaires pour l'ouverture du dossier :
Proforma ou facture finale
Fiche descriptive pour chaque code de nomenclature
Rapports de test ou certificats d'analyse pour chaque code de nomenclature
Certificat de qualité ISO 9001 ou équivalent
Déclaration d'importation à demander à votre acheteur (selon la destination)

2

Revue documentaire

Voici la liste des documents nécessaires pour l'ouverture du dossier :
Proforma ou facture finale
Fiche descriptive pour chaque code de nomenclature
Rapports de test ou certificats d'analyse pour chaque code de nomenclature
Certificat de qualité ISO 9001 ou équivalent
Déclaration d'importation à demander à votre acheteur (selon la destination)

3

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