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BRCGS Food Safety issue 9 to focus on culture & continuous improvement

BRCGS has published the draft version of its Issue 9 Food Safety Standard which focuses on embedding a food safety culture, plus driving continuous improvement and quality through risk-based planning.

Mark Fincham, technical manager at LRQA, discusses some of the key changes you can expect to see with BRCGS Food Safety. “There are some significant changes as part of Issue 9 which starts right at the top with culture. Senior management will be required to not only demonstrate that they have a food safety culture embedded across their company, but that they are going one step further to make sure food safety is built into their organisation at every step.

“They are also required to show through their policies that employees understand food safety plans and processes and have access to the right level of training for their role.”

Another key change in the draft is the requirement for HACCP or food safety plans to be validated before implementation or prior to any changes that could affect product safety. This is to ensure that plans effectively identify hazards before they happen.

Mark comments: “It’s this focus on risk-based planning that is also reflected in the added requirements for non-conformities. Every non-conformity will need to receive a root cause analysis and a corrective action plan. In addition, improvement plans will also be required when analysis shows non-conformity trends.”

In addition, there are some fundamental changes to how site standards are managed. For example, factory layout, flow of processes and how employees use the space will all need to prevent the risk of product contamination and comply with relevant legislation. There is a real focus on how production and product handling equipment must help minimise the risk of contamination of products.

Mark comments: “Issue 9 will give organisations more clarity and – just as importantly – will give their customers more confidence in the quality of their food products.

“As a certification body, we know that assurance against the BRCGS Global Standard for Food Safety proves an organisation’s level of competence while demonstrating a commitment to consumer safety and stakeholder relations.”

Once published in August 2022, certification against Issue 9 for audits will start from 1 February 2023.

Find out more about BRCGS certification.

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