A food safety professional working in a laboratory after food safety training

Considering Food Safety Training? Explore Key Changes to BRCGS Issue 9 and Their Impact

Food safety is of utmost importance to those working in the food industry. The BRCGS Global Standard for Food Safety is a highly valued standards that govern food safety practices. Recently, this standard underwent significant changes with the release of Issue 9. In this blog post, we’ll explore the critical changes to BRCGS Issue 9 and their impact on food safety training and practices.

Understanding BRCGS

Brand Reputation through Compliance (BRC), is a globally recognized trade association established in 1992 to serve the UK food retail industry. Over the years, it has set the benchmark in food safety and quality standards. The Brand Reputation through Compliance Global Standard (BRCGS) is a set of international standards establishing performance criteria for safety, quality, and consumer protection.

Global Food Safety Standard, in particular, is adopted by over 22,000 sites in more than 130 countries, illustrating its extensive impact and acceptance. This standard provides a comprehensive framework for managing food product safety, integrity, legality, and quality, helping businesses build confidence in their supply chain. BRCGS also offers a range of interactive training courses developed by experts to help individuals and organizations comprehend and implement these standards effectively.

Enhanced Audit Protocol

Unannounced audits are now a compulsory element, alongside a requirement for one such audit to occur at least once every three years as part of the announced audit schedule. Issue 9 also introduces a third audit option – the blended audit. This is a significant shift as it combines remote (online) and on-site evaluations. The remote part covers auditing of registrations, systems, and documentation, while on-site audits focus on practical implementation. This hybrid approach aims to be more flexible and efficient while maintaining rigorous standards.

A food safety auditor evaluating equipment at a food processing plant after food safety training

The new standard introduces the blended audit process as explored in food safety training.

Emphasis on Food Safety Culture

Food safety culture is a fundamental component of management commitment. Issue 9 stresses the role of senior management in fostering a culture that prioritizes food safety. This includes clear communication, continuous training, employee feedback, and performance measurement relating to product safety, authenticity, legality, and quality. Such an approach underscores the importance of an organization-wide commitment to food safety.

The new standard introduces modifications to the requirements for the Food Safety Plan, particularly the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP). As our food safety courses emphasize, ensuring the effectiveness of HACCP is crucial for identifying and controlling potential hazards throughout the production process.

A food safety professional studying HACCP requirements after food safety training

In food safety training, the new standard modifies HACCP requirements.

Rigorous Validation and Verification After Food Safety Training

Validation and verification processes receive more attention in Issue 9. Notably, validation is now mandatory before implementing any changes. This applies to control points and critical limits of Critical Control Points (CCPs). Verification is required at least annually and immediately following any changes or incidents. This heightened focus ensures that food safety measures are effective and up-to-date.

A food safety professional giving the thumbs up in a food production factory after food safety training

Validation is now mandatory before changes, as our food safety courses stress.

Comprehensive Training and Competence

Training requirements have expanded to include all staff, not just those directly involved in food handling or production. This holistic approach ensures that everyone in the organization understands and contributes to food safety practices. The training now covers allergen control plans and the principles of food fraud and food defense. Competence in managing CCPs and other control measures is also emphasized, ensuring a well-rounded understanding of food safety.

This update mandates organizations in the food industry to update their food safety training programs to incorporate the changes introduced in Issue 9. This includes training on senior management commitment, HACCP, environmental monitoring, and supplier management. Employees at all levels of the organization are expected to be made aware of the changes and their implications for food safety. This can be achieved through regular communication and training sessions. In addition, documentation of food safety training has become even more critical in Issue 9. Organizations must maintain records of training activities to demonstrate compliance with the new standard.

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