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Taking Your Food Facility to the Next Level: BRC Audit Headaches and How Stancold Can Help

abattoir facility fit-out; brc audits

When Stancold’s Food Projects Specialists conduct site visits for food producers who have enquired about our services, BRC audits tend to come up a lot in conversation. We wanted to explore what a BRC audit entails and how Stancold fits into the mix when it comes to BRC guidelines and audits.

First off, we need to address what BRC is. The BRCGS is a global operator of third-party certification schemes for food producers to ensure that product quality is maintained throughout the supply chain.

The BRCGS standards are recognised by the Global Food Safety Initiative. The GFSI was put in place to apply a certified-once, recognised-everywhere approach to food safety. Despite this approach, getting certified by the BRC is far from simple. Not only are more and more retailers and resellers requiring BRC certification, but consumers are aware of the BRC logo and trust that it indicates safely produced food.

To start the BRC certification process, food producers will get in touch with BRCGS. This will ultimately lead to the food producer choosing a registered certified body to perform an audit and if successful, register the producer as BRC certified.

A BRC audit can take up to a week of intensive bureaucracy and the auditor will usually spend full days on-site going through the necessary actions. Thorough does not begin to describe it!

After the auditor has conducted the investigation, the actions required to correct any found errors need to be taken following the set timeline. In some cases, the auditor will allow for a temporary solution to be put in place until a permanent solution can be implemented.

It’s quite the process, to say the least!

So where does Stancold fit into the BRC certification journey?

If Section 4 of the BRC’s food safety guidelines is causing your team headaches, our Food Projects team can help.

This aspect of the BRC audit process concerns the physical layout of a food production facility. This could be considering allergen-free foods or the placement of a temperature-controlled area of the factory. The end goal here is to avoid contamination that will result in the food becoming unsafe.

The auditor might also find areas for improvement concerning the way the facility is physically formatted in terms of how employees or materials move through it. Zones of a factory, relating to the stage of production that occurs in that zone, are classed as high care or low care.

What if employees are passing through a high care zone to get to their workstation?  This might be addressed during a BRC audit and could mean your facility requires process improvement works.

Additionally, it could be recognised by an auditor if the high-care and low-care areas are not properly segregated from each other. This comes down to segmentation and reformatting the layout to improve the factory’s overall process for the BRC’s approval.

If the findings from an audit indicate that the whitewall partitioning layout needs to be changed or a new temperature-controlled area needs to be implemented, give us a call.

When we use the phrase ‘process improvement,’ it’s not just about making your facility run more efficiently, rather it’s improving every aspect of your operation’s layout to ensure it not only meets but exceeds every industry standard. Our team can help you achieve a facility layout that prevents product contamination to check all the boxes in Section 4 of a BRC audit AND maximises production efficiency. We’ll work with you to ensure these two priorities don’t have to compete with each other.

Our Food Projects team has been working in food production facilities for over 75 years and has over 80 years of combined experience, so there is no contractor better equipped to help your food facility action the required Section 4 changes from a BRC audit.

If your food production facility is preparing for an audit or needs to action facility changes, contact Stancold’s Food Projects team to learn more about how we can help:

📞 0117 316 7000

📧 info@stancold.co.uk

Click here to learn more about the BRC audit process.