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BRC Audit Checklist

How to use the BRC audit checklist?

A BRC audit checklist is a comprehensive document that outlines the criteria and requirements set forth by the BRC Global Standards.

It serves as a roadmap for businesses to evaluate their processes, identify areas for improvement, and ensure they meet the strict standards necessary for certification.

Use our free BRC audit checklist to prepare your team for a comprehensive certification audit. Follow these steps:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the checklist. 
  2. Download the checklist. Enter a valid email address and click on "Download." The downloaded checklist will be saved in your downloads folder.
  3. Orient your team. Discuss the key areas of a BRC audit to your team before conducting an internal audit.
  4. Perform a gap analysis. Use the checklist to determine areas that need more attention according to BRC standards. 

In addition to our BRC audit checklist, you can also get other food safety-related posters, checklists, templates, and tools from our free Food Safety Template Hub.

If you want a smarter way of conducting a gap analysis for your operations, use FoodDocs' smart Food Safety Management System. Our software features smart food safety audit tools that you can access through any mobile device.

Learn more in this article. 

Step-by-Step Guide: BRC Audit Checklist for Food Safety Excellence

In the ever-evolving landscape of the global food industry, ensuring the highest standards of quality, safety, and compliance is key. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) stands as the assurance standard, providing a framework that benchmarks excellence across the entire supply chain. Being the first-ever GFSI-benchmarked standard, the BRC is globally known for safety and quality assurance. For companies aspiring to meet and exceed these rigorous standards, a well-structured BRC audit checklist serves as a critical tool.

Key points covered:

  1. The BRC audit evaluates your business's compliance with the organisation's established standards.
  2. A BRC audit checklist is essential to capture every BRC standard's key components for different industries.
  3. A BRC audit checklist can help food business owners comply with the essential requirements of the organisation.
  4. The frequency of BRC routine audits will depend on the previous grade awarded to a food business. 
  5. FoodDocs' intuitive Food Safety Management System features customisable monitoring tasks that can be used to record essential information as proof of BRC compliance. 
  6. Our software also features a Traceability System that can be used to promote transparency in the supply chain. 

Find out how to use a BRC audit checklist.

 

What is a BRC audit in the food industry?

A BRC audit in the food industry refers to an assessment conducted by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) to evaluate food manufacturers and suppliers' food safety and quality management systems. The BRC is a trade association that represents UK retailers, and it has developed a set of global standards for food safety known as the BRC Global Standards.

The BRC Global Standard for Food Safety is one of the world's most widely recognised food safety certification schemes and international standards. It provides a framework for managing food safety, quality, and operational criteria within the food manufacturing and processing industry. The standard covers various aspects of food safety, including senior management commitment, hazard and risk analysis, product safety and quality management, site standards, and factory-process control.

Food industry workplace

What is a BRC audit checklist?

A BRC audit checklist is a comprehensive list of criteria and requirements that a food manufacturing or processing facility needs to meet to comply with the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety.

This checklist serves as a guide for both the auditors conducting the assessment and the companies undergoing the audit. It helps ensure that all relevant aspects of the BRC standard are considered during the evaluation process.

While the specific details of the checklist may vary depending on the version of the BRC standard being used (as standards are periodically updated), here are some common elements that are typically covered in a BRC audit checklist:

  1. Senior Management Commitment.

    • Evidence of senior management commitment to food safety.
    • Establishment and communication of food safety policies.
  2. Hazard and Risk Analysis.

  3. Product Safety and Quality Management.

  4. Site Standards.

    • Layout and design of the facility to prevent food safety risks.
    • Adequate separation of raw materials, work-in-progress, and finished goods.
    • Cleanliness of storage areas.
    • Food hygiene and sanitation practices.
    • Pest control measures.
  5. Personnel.

  6. Supplier Approval and Monitoring.

    • Procedures for approving and monitoring suppliers.
    • Complete product specifications from suppliers. 
    • Evaluation of raw material and ingredient suppliers.
  7. Internal Audits.

  8. Continuous Improvement.

Companies preparing for a BRC food safety audit often use the checklist to conduct self-assessments and identify areas where improvements may be needed. It is important for organisations to carefully review the specific requirements of the BRC standard they are working toward and tailor their preparations accordingly.

For a smarter and more intuitive way of evaluating your BRC compliance, use FoodDocs' AI-powered Food Safety Management System. Our software features auditing tools that allow you to create detailed checklists and access them through any mobile device. 

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Why is a BRC audit checklist important?

A BRC audit checklist is a structured tool to ensure that a food manufacturing or processing facility complies with the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety. Here are some key reasons why a BRC audit checklist is important:

  • Compliance with standards. The BRC audit checklist serves as a guide to help companies ensure that they meet the necessary criteria and comply with the established food safety processes. It helps reduce the risk of product contamination in the food supply chain.
  • Evaluation of food process operations. The checklist provides a systematic and organised approach to the evaluation process and can help boost customer confidence. 
  • Documentation and recordkeeping. The checklist emphasises the importance of maintaining accurate and up-to-date documentation and records. This is crucial for demonstrating compliance during the audit and providing evidence of the effective implementation of food safety management systems.
  • Reduction of risks. By addressing hazards and risks in food products through the checklist, companies can implement measures to control potential food safety hazards. This proactive approach helps prevent issues before they arise and demonstrates a commitment to providing safe and quality products.
  • Staff training. The checklist includes elements related to personnel training and competence to ensure that food workers follow strict food safety standards and legal requirements.
  • Traceability and recall readiness. The checklist addresses traceability and recall procedures, which are crucial in the event of a product recall. 
  • Audit preparation. The checklist is a valuable tool for conducting self-assessments, identifying potential areas of non-compliance, and making necessary improvements before the official audit takes place.

A BRC audit checklist is a valuable resource that facilitates compliance with the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety, promotes best practices in food safety management, and helps organisations continuously improve their processes.

How often does a BRC audit occur?

The frequency of BRC audits can vary based on several factors, including the certification level achieved, the facility's risk category, and the facility's performance in previous audits.

If your business achieves a grade of B or higher, you can expect a routine annual audit. Businesses with grades of C or D should expect frequent audit visits, usually every six months. If your business got a D, you must expect the auditor to return to your business within 28 days. This follow-up audit will ensure that all major non-conformances are addressed. 

The recent version of the BRC standards added a clause that businesses must undergo an unannounced audit every three years

Using a BRC audit checklist can help you stay compliant with the BRCGS and ensure food safety in your business. The checklist contains the general requirements for BRC certification programmes.

What should I expect from a BRC audit?

BRC audit for certification consists of systematically evaluating a business's food management system. A professional third-party auditor will do the audit process, requiring your complete cooperation.

The audit process typically involves several key steps:

  • Internal audit preparation. Your food safety team must first prepare by reviewing the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety and the specific requirements of the standard relevant to their operations. Note that the BRC food safety standards may vary depending on a wide range of products and operations. Conduct internal audits and self-assessments to identify areas of improvement and ensure readiness for the official BRC audit.
  • Schedule an audit. The company schedules the BRC audit with a certification body. The certification type and your business's risk level may influence the schedule. 
  • Document review. The auditors review documentation related to the company's food safety management system. This includes policies, procedures, records, product flow, food safety plan scope, and other relevant documentation.
  • On-site inspection. The auditors conduct a physical inspection of the production facility. This involves observing processes, checking the layout and design of the facility, evaluating hygiene and sanitation practices, and ensuring compliance with the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety. The review process may involve relevant staff interviews. 
  • Audit report. The auditors prepare a detailed audit report that includes their findings, observations, and recommendations. This report is typically shared with the facility within a specified timeframe after the audit.
  • Corrective actions. If non-conformities are identified, the facility must develop and implement a corrective action plan to address the issues.
  • Certification decision. Based on the audit findings and the effectiveness of corrective actions, the auditor will decide the certification status of the facility.

Prepare for any food safety audit and get great marks from your auditor by establishing a comprehensive food safety system using FoodDocs' smart Food Safety Management System

With the help of our software, you can easily get automatically generated monitoring tasks that you can use to log information as proof of your conformance. Present digital records to the auditor, making the inspection process more efficient with our intuitive software. 

Learn more about FoodDocs' product features here

How do I prepare for the BRC audit?

Preparing for a BRC audit is crucial to ensure a smooth and successful assessment of your food safety management system. Here are some key steps to help you prepare for a BRC audit:

  1. Understand the BRC Standard. Thoroughly review the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety that applies to your facility. Understand the specific requirements and criteria relevant to your operations.
  2. Conduct Internal Audits. Perform internal audits and gap analysis of your food safety management system. This helps identify gaps or non-compliance areas that need attention before the official BRC audit.
  3. Employee training. Train employees on food safety practices, hygiene, and their specific roles in maintaining a safe production environment.
  4. Traceability test. Test your traceability systems to ensure that you can accurately trace and recall products. This is a critical aspect of the BRC audit, and auditors may assess your ability to trace products at various stages of production.
  5. Hygiene and Sanitation. Verify that your facility follows strict hygiene and sanitation practices.

All mentioned areas are covered in our BRC audit checklist. Use this tool to prepare your team for a BRC audit while always staying consistently compliant. 

By taking a systematic and proactive approach to these preparation steps, you increase the likelihood of a successful BRC audit. You can also check out our detailed article about BRCGS standards here

A food factory supervisor using tablet and assesses quality of food

How to get ready for the BRC audit with FoodDocs?

Preparing for a BRC audit can be hard if you do not know where to start. In addition, the process can also be a burden if your operations are not previously being recorded. This will make reviewing your records harder and longer. 

To help you prepare and ensure a Grade AA audit result, use FoodDocs' smart Food Safety Management System. Using our software, you can get the following features:

  1. Customisable monitoring system for recording BRC compliance
  2. Traceability System for tracking ingredient and product movement
  3. Food safety audit tools for conducting internal operational evaluation

Customisable monitoring system for recording BRC compliance

Use our AI-driven software to streamline the compliance process for businesses aiming to undergo BRC audits. Get automatically generated monitoring tasks for documenting essential hazard control operations, which is a critical component of the BRC audit.

Tailor the automatically generated monitoring tasks to align with your specific business requirements and BRC standards. Alternatively, you can create detailed monitoring tasks from scratch tailored to meet the recordkeeping standards for BRC certification. Incorporate BRC standards into the monitoring tasks.

This feature makes our system also versatile when it comes to applying suggestions from the food auditor. 

Customizable_monitoring_tasks

Customisable monitoring tasks from FoodDocs software

Traceability System for tracking ingredient and product movement

 One of the BRC Global Standards's main requirements is a traceability system that will help minimize any potential risks in case of an outbreak. 

With FoodDocs, you can get a food safety and Traceability System in one software. This feature lets you log information about your recipes, ingredients, and products. Once completely set up, you can track the movement of your materials throughout the supply chain.

Access key information with just a few clicks. Our Traceability System features advanced search options, which allow you to access information based on the filters you apply. 

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Traceability System from FoodDocs software

Food safety audit tools for conducting internal operational evaluation

Perform internal audits before your BRC certification audit to ensure your business passes. Use our software's food safety audit tools through any mobile device. 

You can upload a pre-existing audit checklist and customize it according to the BRC standards. Our Food Safety App can access all audits to prepare your team for a BRC audit. 

Evaluate your operations beforehand and ensure compliance with BRC standards. In case of corrective suggestions, you can easily customise each digital checklist to incorporate audit findings. 

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Food safety audit from FoodDocs software

Incorporate the essence of a BRC audit checklist into our AI-powered Food Safety Management System and streamline your compliance process. Using our software, you can easily perform internal audits, record critical operations, and track your product's movement.

Embracing these principles isn't just a rule to follow but a smart investment in businesses' lasting success and reputation worldwide.

Book a free demo with our specialists to understand how we can help you pass a BRC audit.


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