BRC Version 8 auditing standard targets food safety culture

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

New standards for auditing will make food safety a core focus for businesses
New standards for auditing will make food safety a core focus for businesses
An imminent auditing standard will make food safety culture within food businesses a core focus, but will require industry, not auditors, to assess and improve it.

British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Standards has tackled fears raised by the food industry and food safety experts that the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 8 would expect third-party auditors to measure such a culture.

“What we are clearly not doing is attempting to measure a food safety culture at a site because that is a very subjective process,”​ said David Brackston, technical director of BRC Global Standards.

Food safety culture

“What we are doing is nudging people towards thinking about the importance of food safety culture in their business.”

Rather than being prescriptive, the standard would allow firms freedom to focus on what was most likely to improve the food safety culture within their businesses, Brackston said.

However, the BRC would issue guidance notes, with links to specialist training tools, in October, to help companies develop plans for conforming to the standard, which is due to be launched in August.

Conforming to the standard

It will require auditors to assess whether, in the first year, businesses are implementing actions such as staff training, better communications, confidential reporting systems or reward schemes to improve food safety culture.

In the second year, it would assess progress on those plans. All of these aspects could be audited, asserted Brackston.

From 1 February 2019, audits using the new standard, which was developed following widespread stakeholder consultation and a review of emerging issues in the food industry, will replace the previous version.

Related topics: Food Safety

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