Too many schemes spoil the certification standard

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Standardization, Food safety, Brc

It is “unfortunate” and “disappointing” that a new manufacturer-driven food safety standard has been launched to compete directly with retailerled third-party certification programmes, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), reports sister title Food Manufacture.

On the new Food Safety System Certification scheme, FSSC 22000 – which is based on the ISO 22000 standard for food quality and backed by Nestlé, Unilever, Kraft and Danone – BRC director of Global Standards Dr Geoff Spriegel said: “For some big branded food manufacturers, the BRC global standard is still regarded as something that was set up by UK retailers for their own-label suppliers. The big brands were always more behind ISO standards.

“But the BRC standard has since grown into something that is recognised all over the globe, so it is disappointing that the big manufacturers didn’t all support it, as it’s already there and up and running. I’m not sure why they deemed it necessary to develop another one. It is unfortunate in that it creates confusion in the supply base. No one gains by developing a plethora of standards. The objective of the Global Food Safety Initiative was the convergence of standards.”

However, he accepted that there were benefits to competition, adding: “The point is not to compete on the content of standards, but in the framework for ensuring compliance with them through consistent auditing and training. We’ve put a lot of effort into working with certification bodies on key performance indicators and training to ensure everyone has confidence in the way BRC standards are audited.”

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