Pro Tip: Important things to know as BRCGS Food Safety Issue 9 moves toward publication.

The BRCGS Food Safety standard was developed more than 20 years ago to help food manufacturers focus on a wide range of areas, including HACCP, traceability, food fraud prevention and food safety culture. At the recent BRCGS Food Safety Americas 2022 conference, participants were given a quick glance at Issue 9, which is likely to be published in August 2022 and audited in February 2023. These are the highlights.

First is the introduction of a blended audit option, also known as a hybrid. The part of the regular audit, usually conducted in a conference room, can now be done remotely using teleconferencing. Within 28 days, the next portion of the audit must be conducted on-site.

In terms of the requirements themselves, BRCGS is still strongly focused on food safety and food safety culture, and facilities will have to commit to these concepts in their quality policy, and the desired behaviors will have to be defined within the plan.

Food defense has its own section and sites have the option to consider it, jointly with food fraud, in the same document. The Standard will place an increased emphasis on root cause analysis, so it will be vital to keep an eye out for this. Vendor approval clauses have been improved by ensuring that companies consider food defense and food fraud are central to the assessment process.

Overall, the facilities section has seen minor adjustments with stronger requirements for equipment control and commissioning, catering, and a few other matters like plastic strip curtains.

Staff involved in assessing food fraud will need to be able to demonstrate their competence and expertise.

If time separation is used for high-care facilities, a robust system must be in place and all traded products must be assessed under a product safety plan.

Issue 9 will require a sharp eye for detail and a complete internal audit plan.

Siarl Siviyer Dixon is certification manager at AIB International.