BRC Global Standard for Storage and Distribution – Issue 3
In 2006 the BRC introduced the Global Standard for Storage and Distribution to complement the suite of Global Standards covering the production of food, packaging and consumer products. This Standard allows the chain of product certification to be completed, from primary processor to manufacturer, and from manufacturer to retailer (or food service company in the case of food).
Issue 3 of this Standard has been developed by a multi-stakeholder group including retailers, food service companies, industry trade associations, independent experts and certification bodies, and builds upon the experience from the previous issue.
This Standard is designed to reflect best practice and facilitate a process of continuous improvement through well-designed risk-based product safety management systems. The objective is to ensure that the quality and safety of products are maintained during their storage and distribution and where subject to other activities such as contracted services, and that customer confidence is upheld through audit and certification.
In many countries the storage and distribution of products, in particular food products, is controlled through legislation. This Standard is based on best practice and is not intended to replace the requirement of any legislation that requires a higher standard for a specific industry sector. In countries where the principles of due diligence apply, certification to the Standard may provide part of a due diligence defence.
Certification to this Standard should give customers confidence in the site; however, the decision to use a particular supplier rests with the individual customer..
SCOPE OF APPLICABLE PRODUCTS
The Standard is designed primarily for the storage and distribution of packaged products which are by their nature largely protected from physical contamination. The scope of products covered by this Standard is as follows.
Food Food products include: • packaged food products • Bulk storage and transportation (by road only) of food products and ingredients (e.g. flour, oils, sugar syrups, wine) • Loose food products that are limited to: • Open boxes and trays of fruit and vegetables • Trays of raw fish/crustaceans/other sea food • Carcasses of meat. In all such cases the product shall be received into storage and released into distribution without any further preparation, sorting or processing. Where such additional operations do take place the facility shall be certificated using the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety. A permitted exception to this rule is where the main activity of the site is storage/distribution and this includes a small amount of order picking from trays of fruit and vegetables to smaller quantities to fulfil customer orders (e.g. for food service customers).
Exclusions from the food products include: • Live animals (except crustaceans prepared for placing on the market for human consumption) • Pre-farm-gate loose bulk agricultural products • Unprocessed bulk agricultural products.
These include pre-packed and bulk packaging materials for later conversion for food and non-food use. Where any conversion or other operations which change the nature of the incoming packaging materials are undertaken, the facility shall be audited against the BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials. Consumer products
These include products covered by the scope of the EU General Product Safety Directive 2001/95 to be sold by retail or similar products supplied to the food service industry. The Standard applies only to packaged products. ‘Packaged’ in the context of consumer products is intended to include packaged individual items, bound or shrink-wrapped palletised materials, and items packed in bulk bags as used, for instance, for building materials. Exclusions Exclusions from consumer products include: • Fuels sold in bulk or refillable containers • Motor vehicles.
PRINCIPLES OF THE STANDARD
A business must have a full understanding of the products handled, stored and distributed and have systems in place to identify and control hazards significant to the safety, quality and legality of the products. The requirements of the Standard in Part II are divided into eight sections with sections 1 to 3 setting out the key principles of the Standard, and the later sections focusing on the more specific requirements of particular aspects of the operation.
SENIOR MANAGEMENT COMMITMENT
Within storage and distribution businesses, the safety, legality and quality of the products handled must be seen as a cross-functional responsibility, including the activities of many departments using different skills and expertise within the organisation. Effective adoption of the principles of this Standard extends beyond the responsibility of a single individual and must be wholly supported by the full management team. The starting point for effective implementation of the Standard is the commitment of senior management to the development of an all-encompassing policy to guide the activities which collectively assure that products are stored and distributed in a way that maintains their quality, safety and legality.
A RISK-BASED SYSTEM
The Standard requires an evaluation of the risks to the products during their handling, storage and distribution. The hazard and risk analysis process defined in the Standard should enable potential risks to be identified and controlled either through existing programmes such as pest control (prerequisite programmes) or by the introduction of specific controls. An effective hazard and risk analysis provides the basis for the management system.
QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM AND SUITABLE OPERATING CONDITIONS
The Standard requires the development of a documented quality management system which will provide the structure to enable the management policies and results of the risk assessment to be implemented consistently, and audited and reviewed to encourage continual improvement.
BENEFITS OF USING THE STANDARD
Adoption, use and certification to the Standard provide a number of benefits in terms of the operation of the business, customers and marketing. These benefits include: • The Standard is internationally recognised, providing a report and certification that can be accepted by customers in place of their own audits – reducing time and cost. • The comprehensive scope of the Standard, covering areas of quality, hygiene and product safety, provides a benchmark for best practice in the storage and distribution industries. • When effectively adopted, the Standard can reduce damage, waste and therefore costs to the business. • The accredited audit provides greater credibility and recognition when certification is achieved. • Certificated sites may appear on the BRC public directory allowing recognition of their achievements and the use of a logo for marketing purposes. • The Standard addresses part of the ‘due diligence’ requirements of both the certificated company and the customers using its service. • Ongoing surveillance and follow-up corrective actions after an audit help to ensure that a self-improving quality, hygiene and product safety system is established.