If we look at maintaining and improving the food safety culture, then the Draft version from BRC Food 8 is keeping up with the times. The first chapter requires developing a strategy, creating an action list with activities that are aimed at this strategy, devising a plan to execute these activities and of course to evaluate them. It is also required to set up a whistle-blower system, in which the information from this system is dealt with by senior management.
Continuous improvement and Root Cause Analysis are two subjects that are regularly found throughout this new standard. Not only in the food safety culture, but also in recall, raw material risks, products outside specification and non-achievement of targets. Further, much of the focus lies upon the knowledge of the personnel. It is mandatory to train the HACCP team leader. The production staff must also be aware of the measures to be taken, for instance in case of glass breakage. The standard also requires that checks are to only be done by a competent person.
From now on, acceptance of a Low Risk supplier via a supplier survey must be well-founded on the basis of risk. In the case of trading, for acceptance, another GFSI certificate is also allowed alongside the BRC Agents and Brokers. When accepting suppliers of raw materials, suppliers of packaging materials are also added. A GFSI certificate is required for external production (outsourcing). An on-site audit, on its own, is insufficient. The requirements for CIP and an environmental study have once again been set up and tightened.
We conclude that BRC version 8 controls the limitation of risks by demanding competent persons and demanding more clarification for outsourced processes. The commitment from senior management to improve the food safety culture and the setting up of a whistle-blowing system demonstrate that a focus on people in food production is becoming increasingly more important. I emphasise that this is a draft version. Experience has shown that significant changes can still take place between the Draft and the final version.