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BRC Issue 8 Tries to Encourage a New Culture of Food Safety

Author: John Mills
by John Mills
Posted: Sep 12, 2019

The latest revision to the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety, which was issued on 1 August 2018, tries to address new requirements for food manufacturers, housing logo conformity, confidential reporting systems, food defence, and manufacture of pet food, environmental monitoring and testing of online check weighs.

There is also a new section to need food manufacturers to expand a ‘strategic plan for food culture’. These requirements to define activities involving all clauses that affect product safety and must include an action plan indicating how such activities will be tackled and measured, as well as considered timescales and a review of the effectiveness of completed activities.

Food manufacturers will have to make sure their plan is based on a reiteration process include the ‘Plan, Do, Check, Act’ principles. To evaluate their current food safety culture, contraption changes and assess improvements, they will also be encouraged to put in place the following:

  • A staff survey focusing on values and culture
  • Annual one-to-one staff reviews and recognition programmes
  • Employee feedback mechanisms
  • Training reviews and staff development
  • Teamwork (for example, staff involvement in setting product safety objectives)
  • Effective communication strategies.
  • BRC auditors will be required to review food safety plans and seek evidence through a senior management meeting to decide how the plan was developed, resourced, distributed among the workforce, and is being managed and reviewed. Where organisations have not implemented a food safety plan, this will be recorded as a major non-conformity.

    There is no quick attach for changing BRC Issue 8 for Food Safety culture within an organisation, as the BRC acknowledges, and as such, businesses are encouraged not to control their plan to 12 months when a more realistic timescale might be three to five years. Furthermore, organisations are more likely to succeed in changing food safety culture where they prioritise two or three relevant core issues to increase their food safety culture, rather than taking a generalised approach with limited impact.

    The key challenge facing organisations regarding food safety culture is that they historically predict the level of commitment and under-appreciate the level of resources need to establish and maintain a proactive safety culture, in terms of control, co-operation, communication and competence. The reality is that organisations’ proactive cultural plans often fail to gain grip due to work pressures and a failure to nurture a proactive cultural mind-set.

    BRC’s food safety cultural demands have been a long time in coming. The true test for food manufacturers now will be whether they can hold the new standard fully and avoid a scenario in which their good intentions disappeared into an academic exercise.

    Of course, neglects in food manufacturers’ safety compliance are not limited to developing countries. According to a report from the Sustainable Food Trust, the cost of food contamination to UK food manufacturers stands very high, and its root cause is non-compliance in food safety culture. Almost one in 10 of the global population, fall sick after eating contaminated food every year, resulting in 420,000 deaths.

    For more updates and details on requirements of BRC Food issue8 documents, visit

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    Author: John Mills

    John Mills

    Member since: Aug 30, 2013
    Published articles: 40

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