BRCGS Food Certification : Food Safety and Quality

Food safety and quality are top priorities in the food industry, with consumers demanding transparency and traceability. The BRCGS Food certification meets these expectations by guaranteeing food safety and quality at every stage of production, recognized worldwide and endorsed by the GFSI.

What is the BRCGS Food certification ?

The BRCGS Food Certification is an international standard proving the effective management of food safety and quality at every stage of production. The acronym BRCGS stands for "Brand Reputation through Compliance of Global Standards", which translates into the reputation of the brand through compliance with international standards.

This certification is intended for food suppliers, whether they are sold under their own brand or private label. It concerns the production, packaging, storage and distribution of food.

This Standard is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), which aims to unify food safety standards worldwide. It is a requirement for the main distributors in the UK and has gained prominence among European and global market players.

The BRCGS Food embraces a comprehensive approach, taking into account food safety (Food Safety), prevention of food fraud (Food Fraud) and protection against sabotage or malicious acts (Food Defence). In its most recent version, this framework also focuses on the continuous evolution of food security culture practices within organizations.

The BRCGS Food certification is based on a robust food safety management system, incorporating industry best practices. It requires compliance with specific criteria, assessed during an audit by an accredited certification body. Obtaining this certification attests to a company’s compliance and excellence in terms of safety and food quality, thus improving its credibility and competitiveness in the market.

Which organizations offer BRCGS Food certification?

The BRCGS Alimentaire certification is granted by certification bodies recognized by the BRCGS, the authority in charge of the corresponding reference system. These independent and qualified certification entities conduct assessments based on the criteria of the standard and are subject to strict supervision by the BRCGS to ensure the accuracy and consistency of audits and certifications.

How to choose a BRCGS Food certification body ?

When selecting a BRCGS Food Certification Body, it is crucial to consider the following :

  • The reputation and prestige of the certification body in the sector
  • Ease of geographical access and availability of auditors
  • The specific technical expertise of the auditors
  • Fees and time required for audit and certification
  • Quality of service and customer support To find BRCGS Food accredited certification bodies, visit the BRCGS or GFSI website. It is advisable to request several quotes and inquire about previous experiences before making a decision.

What are the benefits of working with a BRCGS Food Certification Body ?

Working with a BRCGS Food certification body brings many benefits to a company :

  • Obtaining a prestigious international certification, required by several distributors
  • The assurance of an audit conducted by seasoned professionals
  • Receipt of an in-depth audit report with suggestions for improvement
  • Access to the BRCGS digital platform for certificate management, consultation of audit reports, interaction with the certification body, as well as the use of specific resources and tools
  • Better visibility with potential customers through the dissemination of the certificate on the BRCGS website and in the GFSI global database

What are the specific requirements of the BRCGS Food certification for my industry ?

The BRCGS Food certification covers a wide range of business sectors, from production to food distribution. Its repository is designed to embrace the variety of products and processes, offering criteria adapted to each type of business. There are 16 product categories, including dairy, seafood, bakery, meat, frozen and organic. Each one benefits from specific safety and food quality standards, explicitly defined in the BRCGS Food reference system.

How do I know the specific BRCGS Food certification requirements for my industry ?

To determine the specific criteria of the BRCGS Food certification applicable to your domain, consult the reference system available on the BRCGS or AFNOR website. For personalized assistance in applying these requirements and preparing your audit, call a certification body. Expert in food safety and quality, the certification body offers tailor-made and economical offers, thanks to its collaborations with specialists in the sector. It also gives you access to a digital platform for effective management of your certification, supplemented by practical advice and tools.

What are the benefits of BRCGS Food certification for my industry ?

Obtaining the BRCGS Food certification is more than an asset, it is a recognition of your commitment to quality and food safety. Benefits include :

  • Opening up to new markets, especially in the UK and English-speaking countries where this certification is often a requirement
  • Improving your competitiveness and distinguishing your brand through adherence to internationally recognized standards
  • Optimizing your food safety performance and management system, thus minimizing the risk of non-compliance or recall
  • Increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty by guaranteeing the quality and safety of your products
  • Stimulating the commitment and know-how of your teams through a continuous improvement approach and training in best practices

What are the steps to obtain a BRCGS Food certification ?

Obtaining a BRCGS Food certification requires careful preparation and detailed review. The steps to succeed are :

Step 1 : Obtain the BRCGS Food repository and learn about requirements

Start by obtaining the BRCGS Alimentaire repository, accessible via the BRCGS or AFNOR website. Understanding the requirements of the repository is crucial. These requirements are divided into nine chapters, covering areas such as management engagement, the Food Safety Plan (HACCP), and the Food Quality and Safety Management System, among others. Training, offered by a BRCGS Food Certification Body or a BRCGS-accredited centre is strongly recommended.

Step 2 : Set up a food safety management system in line with the standard

The implementation of a food safety management system is the second step. This includes defining and documenting policies, procedures, instructions and records related to food safety and quality. It is also necessary to implement good manufacturing practices, control hazards, train staff, and continue to improve the system based on feedback. Internal audits and management reviews help assess the effectiveness and compliance of the system.

Step 3 : Choose a BRCGS Food certification body and plan the audit

The choice of an accredited BRCGS Food Certification Body and audit planning is the third step. It is essential to select an organization with an excellent reputation that meets your criteria in terms of proximity, competence, cost, and quality of service. Consult the list of accredited organizations on the BRCGS or GFSI website, and compare offers before making a decision. The audit schedule can be adapted to the company’s preferences.

Step 4 : Perform the audit and obtain the certificate

Finally, the audit must be carried out by a qualified auditor who will evaluate the food safety management system, as well as all the company’s operations. Following the audit, a report detailing the results, non-conformities, observations and recommendations is provided. If the company meets the requirements, the BRCGS Food certificate, valid for 12 months, is issued.

Step 5 : Maintain and improve the food safety management system

This fifth step is essential for effective food security management. It involves the implementation of corrective and preventive actions to respond to non-conformities, complaints, incidents or anomalies identified during audits or in the daily operation of the system. Rigorous monitoring of performance indicators, regular internal audits and management reviews are also crucial.

This step also takes into account changes in standards requirements, regulations, customer expectations and specific business needs. A key aspect is the annual renewal of the BRCGS Food certification, which requires an audit by a selected certification body.

How much does a BRCGS Food certification cost ?

The cost of a BRCGS Food certification varies according to several criteria, including the size and industry of the company, the number of employees, the type of audit (advertised or not), its duration, the chosen certification body, among others. Since there is no fixed or standard rate for this certification, the price can be estimated based on these elements.

Research indicates that the cost of obtaining a BRCGS Food certification is generally between €1,500 and €10,000. This amount covers audit, certification, auditor travel, BRCGS membership and access to its online platform. In addition, internal expenses for the implementation and maintenance of the food safety management system, such as training, documentation, equipment, staff, etc.

To ensure the best value for money, it is essential to compare the offers of different BRCGS Food certification bodies and request quotes adapted to its specificities and expectations. Opt for an organization offering good value for money, with additional services such as advice, support, monitoring is recommended.

How long does it take to obtain a BRCGS Food certification ?

Obtaining a BRCGS Food certification varies according to several elements, including the readiness of the company’s food safety management system, the choice between an announced or surprise audit, and the availability of the certification body. No precise deadline is set for obtaining BRCGS Food certification, however, taking into account these various factors, it is possible to estimate the time required. In general, the time to obtain BRCGS Food certification is between 3 and 12 months. This time includes the following key steps :

  • Preparation of the food safety management system, which varies between 1 and 6 months depending on initial compliance with requirements.
  • The selection of the certification body and the scheduling of the audit, which take between 1 and 3 months, depending on the demand and availability of the body.
  • The completion of the audit and the issuance of the certificate, which may range from 1 to 3 months, depending on the results of the audit, corrections of non-conformities, and the time required for the issuance of the certificate. To speed up the BRCGS Food certification process, it is crucial to organize and prepare well in advance. It is recommended to choose a certification body offering both efficiency and personalized support throughout the process.

Is there a renewal to be done regarding the BRCGS Food certification ?

The BRCGS Food certification, essential to confirm the compliance and effectiveness of the food safety management system, must be renewed annually. The key steps to renew this certification are:

Step 1 : Preparation for Renewal

Start by updating your food safety management system. This involves integrating the latest standards, regulations, customer requirements, and business needs. Update procedures, integrate corrective and preventive measures, internal audits, management reviews, performance indicators and training. Then contact the BRCGS Food Certification Body and schedule the renewal audit at least three months before your current certification expires.

Step 2 : Renewal Audit and Recertification

The next step is to pass the renewal audit, carried out by your current certification body or a new one, if you wish to change it. This audit follows the protocols of the initial audit, assessing both compliance with BRCGS Food requirements and improvements. Upon completion, a report is produced, highlighting the results, non-conformities, observations, and recommendations. A positive audit leads to the issue of a new certificate, valid for one year.

Step 3 : Maintenance and continuous improvement

The final step is to continuously maintain and improve your food safety management system. Respond to non-conformities, complaints, incidents and other anomalies identified during the audit or daily operation. Track performance indicators, conduct internal audits and management reviews regularly, and adapt to changes in standards, regulations, customer expectations and business needs.

Renew your certification annually through a new audit to ensure its continued validity.

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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