BRC V7 vs FSSC 22000: What You Need to Know

food safety audit

Do you know if your facility is operating safely and at optimum efficiency? What food safety management standards do you maintain? Are your standards accredited by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)? Using an accredited standard that is widely accepted by customers worldwide can save your company a lot of money and a lot of time.

Why choose a GFSI-recognized standard?

The GFSI was established in the 1990s with the goal of “Once Certified, Accepted Everywhere.” GFSI-recognized standards are not the only schemes available, but they are widely accepted, which helps customers and suppliers find common ground with food safety requirements.

Both BRC V7 from the British Retail Consortium and FSSC 22000 from the Foundation for Food Safety Certification are manufacturing food safety standards accredited by GFSI. This article explains the difference between the two standards and identifies three questions that will help you decide which one is right for you.

BRC V7: Process certification

BRC V7 focuses on implementing good manufacturing procedures during production. It is a process certification scheme that “can be used by any food processing operation where open food is handled, processed, or packed.” BRC V7 is easily scalable for facilities of all size, and it’s used by suppliers in over 100 countries.

This standard provides detailed descriptions of process requirements, so management and employees know exactly what’s expected of them in day-to-day situations. These requirements are divided into seven sections:

  • Senior Management Commitment and Continual Improvement
  • The Food Safety Plan (HACCP)
  • Food Safety and Quality Management System
  • Site Standards
  • Product Control
  • Process Control
  • Personnel

How the audit works

Audits are performed on-site by BRC-licensed auditors. If your auditor discovers a nonconformance, you will have 28 days to fix the problem and show proof of your corrective actions. Your auditor will re-evaluate your facility and, if everything looks good, you’ll receive your BRC certification.

If your grade is an A or a B, you should get a re-certification audit every 12 months. If you get a C, you’ll need to get re-certified every 6 months.

FSSC 22000: Management system certification

FSSC 22000 is a management system certification scheme based on ISO 22000, but with some additional requirements. If your facility already uses ISO 22000, it’s relatively easy to get FSSC 22000 certified as well.

How the audit works

FSSC 22000 audits are broken down into two stages:

  • Stage 1. During this stage, auditors look at a facility’s documented systems. This includes the key parts of a food safety management system such as hazard identification, critical control points, and prerequisite programs.
  • Stage 2. Here, auditors conduct employee interviews and examine records to determine how well your facility’s processes reflect FSSC 22000 requirements. Surveillance audits are conducted every 6 or 12 months, and re-certification is required every three years.

Which standard should you choose?

There’s no hard and fast rule about which standard is right for your facility. Here are three questions to consider when deciding between BRC V7 and FSSC 22000.

What do your customers use?

Implementing your customers’ preferred standard is one way to assure them that your facility is dedicated to maintaining the highest levels of food safety. Plus, using the same standard that your customers do helps you avoid having to invest more time and money in getting multiple certifications.

What standards or food safety programs do you already have in place?

Do you follow ISO 22000? Then FSSC 22000 is probably the right standard for you since you’ll only need to add to your current scheme rather than starting from scratch.

Do you want to focus on process or management?

Keep in mind the main difference between BRC V7 and FSSC 22000. BRC V7 focuses on implementing good manufacturing procedures, while FSSC 22000 assesses your facility’s documented systems and records.

Regardless of which one you pick, getting certified by a GFSI-recognized standard is a great step toward making your facility safe and efficient. If you’d like to to take another great step toward improving efficiency, click here to learn how to reduce waste in your process. 

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