BRGS Certification: All Of Your FSQ Questions Answered
What is the BRCGS?
The British Retail Consortium Global Standard is formally known as BRC, widely recognized now as BRCGS, was created in 1996.¹ The BRCGS standard exists to standardize food safety across the supply chain. This was also the first standard accepted by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) in 2000. Twenty-five years later, BRCGS continues to be implemented at 28,000 sites in 130 countries. ²
What is the latest BRCGS standard?
BRCGS is currently in its 8th edition (published August 2018) and aims to implement a food safety culture from top to bottom. The current issue has put extra emphasis on creating investment from the leaders to a food safety culture. This standard is organized into nine core modules:
Senior management, commitment, and continuous improvement
The food safety plan - HACCP
Food safety and quality management system
High-risk, high-care, and ambient high-care production risk zones
Requirements for traded products
The BRCGS has different modules that you can add on top of the nine core modules. There are public modules recorded on the audit report and visible to the public section of the BRCGS directory. Then, internal private modules are used on a company-specific basis and uploaded separately from the public module scores³. Adding additional modules can extend the duration of the BRCGS audit. However, adding other modules can decrease the need for separate individual audits.
What is the focus of the BRCGS Food Safety standard?
Commitment by senior management to develop a strong culture around product safety
A significant focus on HACCP and a food safety plan
Quality management system for the organization of documentation, policies, and procedures.
Maintaining a clean environment and operation conditions to produce safe food.
Develop a food fraud prevention program to protect the site
Promoting the continual development of a robust food system
Mandates strict requirements for high-risk, high-care, and ambient high-care production zones.
How to become BRCGS Certified?⁴
Read all guidance information about the BRCGS.
Review your current program against the current BRCGS standard.
As a GFSI standard, they are always revising the current issue to improve food safety.
Attend training to understand the scope and requirements of the standard.
Complete the self-assessment template from the BRCGS website.
Choose a certification body to perform the audit that can be found in the BRCGS directory.
Schedule your audit date.
5. Audit and certification
The audit could last between 2-3 days or more depending on if additional modules are added.
Perform any corrective actions for findings from the auditor.
Make sure you continue to meet the requirements and work on continually developing your food safety program.
Schedule your next audit before it expires to keep certification.
Why should you choose the BRCGS Audit Standard?
BRCGS is a globally recognized food safety standard. This standard has established and clearly defined risk-based requirements for product safety, quality, integrity, and legality. The last but not least benefit is that you get to work with highly qualified, trained, and approved auditors. As a certification body, they make sure that you as the company are ready for an audit. They do this by helping you identify corrective actions before certification as well as including you in a community that provides supportive, continual development and tools for your business.
What is the cost of a BRCGS Certification?
A typical price to get BRCGS certification is between $5,300 and $9,000. This price excludes the travel expenses for the auditor. You could know the travel expense ahead of time, depending on whether it is quoted in the price or not. If it is not included in the quote then it will be calculated on an hourly basis5.
There is another cost that is not normally considered in this pricing, but that is the price of preparing for the audit. A big part of preparing for an audit is documentation. Documentation is important for the second and third focus points of BRCGS. How much time do you spend on sorting through documents and what could you do with that time if you did not have to deal with paper copies? Find out how much staying audit ready is costing you.
Document Compliance Network automatically reaches out to the vendors for their documentation. This ensures that you have the proper documentation for traceability (part of a food safety plan), and make sure that you have all your quality documents in order. As far as the auditor is concerned, if it is not documented it didn’t happen.
Read Next 👉 Tips for Preparing for a BRCGS Audit
About The Author:
Daria Van De Grift is the Client Success Manager at Document Compliance Network. Daria handles customer service inquiries, software program set up, and creates relevant scientific content for the team.
Daria has received both her bachelor's and master's degrees in Food Science and Technology from Oregon State University.
During both degrees at Oregon State University, she focused on dairy science and food safety. After completing her bachelor's, she worked for a dairy company in their Quality Assurance department, where she learned about the regulation and audits affecting the food industry.
BRCGS. “Quick guide for Global Standards.” 2019
Kim Ray, and Sam Greenlee. Safe Food Alliance “https://safefoodalliance.com/gfsi/what-to-look-for-in-the-price-of-a-gfsi-audit/.” Sept 6, 2019.