Food safety and BRC (British Retail Consortium)
The BRC originated in the United Kingdom. Under the terms of the Food Safety Act, 1990, retailers have an obligation to take all reasonable precautions and exercise all due diligence in the avoidance of failure, whether in the development, manufacture, distribution, advertising or sale of food products to the consumer.
That obligation, in the context of retailer branded products, includes the verification of technical performance at food production sites. Until recently, each retailer undertook this activity separately, verifying food production site performance against their individual, internally developed standards. In some instances, verification is undertaken by the retailer’s in-house technologists and in other instances by third party inspection bodies.
Technical inspection of supplying companies’ production premises forms only part of the retailers due diligence system, and the acceptance of a company to supply, rests with the individual retailer. Major retailers, like AHOLD in the Netherlands and METRO in Germany are in favor of having BRC as an international standard.
The BRC has developed the Technical Standard for those companies supplying retailer-branded food products. The Standard has been developed to assist retailers in their fulfillment of legal obligations and protection of the consumer, by providing a common basis for the inspection of companies supplying retailer-branded food products. It has encompassed the fundamental principles of the retailers’ current standards and is intended to be incorporated into standards used by third party inspection bodies. However, it is not intended to replace the requirement of any legislation, where this legislation requires a higher standard for a specific industry sector.
Reference: Quality Enhancement in Food Processing Through HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) ©APO 2004, ISBN: 92-833-7041-4