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BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials

Plastic bottles

 

The BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials is a leading program for the certification of packaging used in food production and consumer products, including cosmetics, toiletries, clothing, homeware, etc. The Standard is a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) recognized scheme applicable to a diverse range of manufacturers involved in the production, conversion, and printing of materials intended for food and consumer product packaging. Currently, there are nearly 4,000 BRC certified packaging manufacturers worldwide. The Standard is in its fifth issue of publication with audits effective from January 1, 2016.

FoodChain ID Certification is accredited to certify sites to the BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials. We have extensive experience in third party certification for the food and beverage industry, which is matched by our commitment to customer satisfaction and continuous improvement. Our expertise in BRC certification is widely acknowledged; we were proud recipients of the BRC Certification Body of the Year award in 2016 and the inaugural BRC CEO award in 2017.

If so, FoodChain ID Certification’s team of certification experts can help explain the process and get you started. At FoodChain ID Certification, our customers are our top priority and we demonstrate this through close communication throughout the certification process.

  • Two categories of requirements based on intended use of packaging: high hygiene and basic hygiene
  • Incorporates product safety and quality requirements to support legal compliance and operational efficiency
  • GFSI-recognized, accredited certification program
  • Accepted globally by retailers and food/consumer product manufacturers to reduce audit fatigue in the supply chain
  • Includes manufacturers of print and chemical processes applied to food and consumer packaging
  • Three audit options depending upon operation’s readiness level: announced, unannounced, Global Markets program

Download or purchase a hard copy of the Packaging and Packaging Materials Standard from the BRC Bookshop to learn about Standard requirements and the audit protocol.

Learning the Standard is the first hurdle in developing a compliant product safety and quality management system. The BRC offers a wide range of training courses through the BRC Academy or Approved Training Partners (ATPs) for implementation of the Packaging Standard along with support courses on relevant topics such as risk assessment and internal auditing.

Following training, the BRC recommends that sites begin preparations with a self-assessment against Standard requirements for the appropriate hygiene category (i.e. high or basic). A registered BRC Consultant (optional) may be used to help carry out the assessment, identify gaps in the site’s current system, and help develop the necessary programs and procedures to achieve compliance. However, it is important that management and site personnel remain actively involved in this process as implementation of the Standard and maintaining certification require management commitment and interdepartmental participation.

  • Contact FoodChain ID Certification to request an application for certification
    • Upon receiving the completed application, we will confirm scope of audit, determine audit duration and provide you with a proposal
    • We recommend contacting us at least 3 months in advance of your desired audit timeframe
  • Schedule the audit
    • After receiving the signed Certification Proposal and Agreement, FoodChain ID Certification will assign a registered BRC Auditor qualified to assess your system against the Packaging Standard and confirm audit dates
  • Implement your BRC system
    • Ensure your product safety and quality management system is well-implemented and verified as effective before undertaking the certification audit. BRC recommends a minimum of 3 months operation to demonstrate full compliance with the Standard
  • Schedule a pre-assessment audit (optional)
    • Pre-assessment audits do not result in certification but are a way for the site to determine their level of preparedness by a qualified auditor
    • The same auditor cannot conduct both the pre-assessment audit and certification audit

The audit format will generally be described in the Visit Plan, which is sent to the site just prior to the audit.  The Visit Plan will include approximate timings for the following activities:

  • Opening meeting
  • Facility inspection
  • Review of documents
  • Traceability challenge
  • Review of production records and verification of the facility inspection
  • Review of findings by the auditor
  • Closing meeting

The Visit Plan should be reviewed by the site to ensure processes and relevant staff are available for assessment. Any potential conflicts (e.g. manufacture of product(s) within the scope of certification occurring outside the scheduled facility inspection) should be discussed with FoodChain ID Certification in advance of the audit.

Compliance with the Standard is assessed through the auditor’s evaluation of objective evidence to determine conformity or non-conformity with the statement of intent for each section and individual requirements.  Objective evidence is gathered through direct observation of production processes and the facility, staff interviews, and document/ record review.

During the closing meeting of the on site audit, the auditor will review all non-conformities with senior management, issue a non-conformity report, and review the corrective action process and timeline. During the initial certification audit, minor non-conformities must be corrected within 28 days and major non-conformities within 90 days where there is a justifiable delay for implementing corrective action (e.g., equipment purchase and installation).

All non-conformities must be verified as being corrected by the auditor and certification body through objective evidence or a revisit before certification can be granted. Additionally, sites must submit a root cause analysis and preventive action plan to prevent recurrence along with evidence of the correction.

Once non-conformities are closed, FoodChain ID Certification will independently conduct a technical review of the auditor’s assessment and audit report and issue a certification decision. The final audit report is uploaded to the BRC Directory and certificate issued (where certified) within 42 days of the audit. The audit report may be shared with supply chain partners via the Directory at the discretion of the site while certification details (e.g.., site information, certificate expiry, and grade) are publically listed.

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