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BRCGS Product Certification Programs

The BRCGS has published two product certification programs:

  • Gluten Free Certification Program 
  • Plant-Based Global Standard

These programs are open to any food processing company and allow the use of specific logos on the packaging of certified products.

You can consult the details of these programs under https://www.brcgs.com/brcgs/gluten-free-certification-program/ and https://www.brcgs.com/brcgs/plant-based-global-standard/.

If you are interested, please contact your account manager or the BRC Survey Officer.

News about FSSC 22000 Food, Packaging, Feed, Transport & Storage

Mandatory survey and new handling of corrections

Mandatory survey

FSSC asks certified organisations to clarify their status with regard to the impact of the pandemic. ProCert has prepared a questionnaire for this purpose, which was sent to all clients. This questionnaire does not need to be completed for clients with official requests for audit postponement or certificate extensions.

ProCert will provide information via the FSSC portal on the status of its clients before 1 July 2020.

New handling of corrections of minor non-conformities for audits from 1 June 2020.

FSSC has decided that for all audits from 1 June onwards, corrections will now be implemented within 28 instead of 90 days after the last audit day. During these 28 days, ProCert must also carry out the verification of implementation with submitted evidence.

The corrective action plan must now also be drawn up within these 28 days and validated and approved by ProCert.

Failure to comply with this 28-day deadline will result in the suspension of the certificate (as of today).

The ProCert portal will be released on 2 June and this adaptation will be integrated.

The ProCert Collaboration guide for food safety management systems has been adapted accordingly.

  • 14.05.2020

Protection concept of certification bodies for audits and inspections during the Covid-19 pandemic

ProCert and SQS have developed a protection concept in cooperation for the performance of management system and product certification audits.

The purpose of this protection concept for audits and inspections is to describe measures for the protection of the auditor (also in audit teams and for witnessers or observers) and the employees of the company, in addition to the requirements issued by authorities, companies and other stakeholders.

The protection concept is applicable for announced and unannounced audits, subject to possible requirements of the standard or certification programme.

The document is available for download here.

COVID-19: Frequently asked questions

ProCert proposes two new FAQ sections "COVID-19" and "COVID-19 GFSI" dedicated to the most frequently asked questions about the standards recognized by GFSI and other standards. This compilation can be adapted to current conditions at any time (situation as of April 1st, 2020).

In order to answer the many questions that our customers have in the context of the current COVID-19 crisis, we have created two new FAQ sections "COVID-19" and "COVID-19 GFSI" dedicated to the new coronavirus and its consequences in the various areas of certification.

These sections will be regularly updated according to the evolution of the situation and following the decisions taken by the various official bodies.

The remote audit as a real alternative

As a result of the current crisis with the coronavirus, direct contacts have to be reduced to a minimum and on-site audits have proved difficult or even impossible. Remote audits are the solution.

A rapid return to normality is not to be expected. A large number of audits are postponed or cancelled. This does not have to happen: remote audits can be carried out.

Possible for all standards?

All standards except IFS Food, BRC GS Food and FSSC 22000.

How does that work in practice?

ProCert has set out the organisation and implementation of remote audits in the collaboration guide. The collaboration guide is available to all clients on the ProCert Portal. 

ProCert offers free information webinars for clients (see webinars) 

For further information, clients can contact the ProCert contact persons, programme managers and market directors. 

Publication of IFS Food V7 postponed

The possibility for certification bodies to become IFS Food accredited has been available since the first publication of the IFS Food Standard in 2002. Accreditation is an essential part of guaranteeing the integrity of the IFS standards, which the certification bodies then demonstrate through the quality of their own certification activities.

With the establishment of a uniform European procedure, which necessitates a program evaluation (EA 1/22) by the European Accreditation Forum (EA), IFS is now formally required to comply with this procedure and undergo a program evaluation for IFS Food Version 7.

However, as a result IFS Food Version 7 will only be published once the evaluation by the German Accreditation Body (DAkkS) has successfully been completed.

The publication of IFS Food Version 7 has therefore been postponed to summer 2020 at the earliest. It will become applicable for certification one year after publication.

FSSC Version 5: additional requirements

FSSC has approved and published additional requirements to ISO 22000:2018,which are mandatory with the V5 protocol.

For food chain categories C, D, I, G and K

In addition to ISO 22000:2018 clause 7.1.6 “Control of externally provided processes, products or services”, the organization shall have a procedure for procurement in emergency situations to ensure that products still conform to specified requirements and the supplier has been evaluated.

Interpretation: emergency situations are for example the disruption of the supply of a raw material by a supplier, in which case the organization must procure from another supplier that has not been approved under standard approval procedures.

The emergency procurement process must be able to assess the risk of such a procurement and propose adequate controls and checks to mitigate that risk, such as

  • A more thorough inspection of incoming lots
  • Require more detailed analysis reports
  • Carry out sampling for broader analysis
  • Applying detailed and formally accepted specifications
  • Require evidence of third party certification

For food chain category I (packaging)

In addition to ISO 22000:2018 clause 8.5.1.3 “Characteristics of end products”, the organization shall have specified requirements in place in case packaging is used to impart or provide a functional effect on food (e.g. shelf life extension).

For food chain category CI (Processing of perishable animal products)

  • In addition to ISO/TS 22002 1:2009 clause 9.2, the organization shall have a policy for the procurement of animals, fish and seafood which are subject to control of prohibited substances (e.g. pharmaceuticals, veterinary medicines, heavy metals
  • In addition to ISO/TS 22002 1:2009 clause 10.1, the organization shall have specified requirements for an inspection process at lairage and/or at evisceration to ensure animals are fit for human consumption.
  • In addition to ISO/TS 22002 1:2009 clause 16.2, the organization shall have specified requirements in place that define post slaughter time and temperature in relation with chilling or freezing of the products.

FSSC 22000 Version 5: Important modifications

The new version 5 of the FSSC 22000 contains certain modifications of importance. We summarise the most important points below.

90-day deadline for corrections

From now on, corrections must be implemented within 90 days after the audit. Evidence must be uploaded on the ProCert Portal. If this deadline is not met, we are required by the FSSC to suspend the certificate.

Procedure in case of critical and major non-conformities

  • In case of confirmed critical non-conformities, the certificate must be immediately suspended for a maximum period of 6 months. A post-audit must be performed.
  • In case of major non-conformities, corrective actions must be implemented within 28 days, with a possible on-site audit. If this deadline of maximum 28 days is not met, the certificate must be suspended.

New requirements with ISO 22000:2018 on the subject of interested parties

If there are any problems interpreting the new ISO 22000:2018 Standard: we have published a few examples of topics from interested parties for our customers on the ProCert Portal.

Obligation to provide information

Customers must inform us of any changes in their organization. In the past, this concerned only food safety issues.

Latest developments in connection with the BRC Global Standard Food

Interpretation of requirement 1.1.2

The following position statement has been agreed to ensure expectations relating to compliance with clause 1.1.2; its consistent application at certificated sites and assessment during audits are understood. The clause is applicable to all sites certificated to Issue 8 of the Standard and shall be audited as part of all audits of the Standard. In summary, the clause requires sites to define and maintain a clear plan for the development and continuing improvement of food safety culture. This plan must include:

  • Clearly defined activities that will be completed
  • Involve all sections of the site that have an impact of product safety (whilst specific activities may be relevant to certain departments or roles, overall the plan must ensure that all relevant section/roles are covered)
  • An action plan indicating how the identified activities will be undertaken/completed
  • Measurement of the activities (i.e. where they completed, where the correct people involved, were activities successful, any other learnings)
  • Intended timescales for the completion of the activities
  • A review of the effectiveness of completed activities.

Where sites are non-compliant, the non-conformities shall be graded as follows:

Major Non-conformity

Where the site does not have a documented plan for food safety and quality culture. In this context a plan is more than a short statement of intent, but documentation incorporating the requirements of the clause (as summarised above).

Minor Non-conformity

Where a documented plan exists, but is:

  • of poor quality (e.g. insufficiently detailed, for example missing timescales for completion or absence of clear action plans)
  • does not cover all the relevant areas or staff
  • not fully implemented (e.g. some activities not implemented or not completed to predefined schedule).
  • Site review of the effectiveness of completed activities.

The third bullet point in the clause requires sites to undertake a review of the effectiveness of completed activities. However, as audits to the Standard only commenced in February 2019 it is possible that this review of the success of the programme, would not always be implemented in year 1 and therefore non-compliance with this bullet point is not considered a non-conformity until the site’s second audit to Issue 8.

Corrective action, root cause analysis and preventive action plans shall be developed in accordance with the section 2.3 of the audit protocol.

New calculator for audit duration

From 1 April 2020, the duration of on-site audits must comply with the new version of the calculator. For audits already covered by an agreement with the sites for 2020, this rule will apply from 1 January 2021. Since most ProCert customers already have signed a contract, it will in principle be adapted for 2021.

What are the main changes?

  • The duration of the on-site audit will be increased, on average, by 2 hours per site per year.
  • If the organization has high-risk, high-care and ambient high-care production areas, the duration shall be increased by 2 hours for each type of area.
  • If the organization integrates traded goods, 1 to 2 hours will have to be added.

The rules for additional modules do not change.

Additional official controls on products originating from Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russian Federation and China

The European Commission, with the "Guidelines on additional official controls on products originating from Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Russian Federation" and the "Guidelines on additional official controls on products originating from China", dated 28.11.2019, revised the additional control and reporting measures for certain groups of organic products grown and processed in defined countries.

Switzerland shares its basic import provisions for organic products with the EU. Switzerland ims to maintain equivalent requirements and modalities with the European Union regarding mports from third countries and is focused on the prevention of pesticide residues and fraud in imported organic products.

Therefore, the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) has decided that the revised control and eporting measures as described in the official letters of the European Commission for the ear 2019 shall also apply for imports to Switzerland, for the control bodies recognized by the FOAG as equivalent according to art. 23a of the Organic Farming Ordinance (SR 910.18) for Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova, the Russian Federation and China. 

BRC Global Standard for Food Safety has been published!

Version 8 of BRC Global Standard for Food Safety is now available. Its application is mandatory from 1 February 2019.

The new version includes many changes, among others, two new chapters: Chapter 8, which brings together all the requirements for high-risk and high-care areas, and Chapter 9, which transforms the voluntary module "Traded Goods" from Version 7 into mandatory requirements.

The standard introduces dozens of new requirements, but also, an in-depth review of chapters such as the first chapter on the commitment of the management which includes 3 new requirements, and 7 modified requirements to introduce the notion of the food safety culture.

Other chapters, such as Vendor Approval (chapter 3.5), already quite detailed in Version 7, has been revised to provide further clarification on vendor audits. The chapter on managing outsourced processes has also been consolidated by new requirements.

You can download the standard here.

We are providing you with the new BRC checklist which you can download here.

ProCert offers you a webinar (click here) to better understand these changes and to prepare you for your first audit according to this new Version 8.

New BRC fees and date of implementation of BRC V 8

BRC increases the fee and the date of implementation is known.

BRC will offer new services through their portal to better control the food chain The details are not yet known.

For this reason the BRC has increased the fee from GBP 300 to GBP 450 (Euro 510) for all audits from 1 August 2018, so before the implementation of version 8.

The fees for the additional modules have all been aligned to GBP 100 (Euro 115), for each of these modules (ASDA, FSMA, etc.), with the exception of the Food Safety Culture Excellence v2 module. The ASDA fee is not yet definitively confirmed.

The new version will be applicable for all BRC audits from 1 February 2019 (and not from 1 January 2019 as communicated in our Newsletter).

Additional control and reporting measures for certain groups of organic products grown and processed in defined countries

Measures for Ukraine, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation will apply from 2018 onwards without time limit.

Switzerland shares its basic import provisions for organic products with the EU. Switzerland aims to maintain equivalent requirements and modalities with the European Union regarding imports from third countries and is focused on the prevention of pesticide residues and fraud in imported organic products. Therefor, the Federal Office tor Agriculture (FOAG) has decided that the revised control and reporting measures as described in the official letter of the European Commission for the year 2018 shall also apply for imports to Switzerland, for the control bodies recognized by the FOAG as equivalent according to art. 23a of the Organic Farming Ordinance (SR 910.18) for Ukraine, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation. Please note that the measures will apply from 2018 onwards without time limit.

News about BRC Food Issue 8

BRC Food Draft Issue 8 available.

BRC Food is currently being revised, with publication of issue 8 expected in August 2018. This new issue will apply for all BRC audits from February 2019.

You can consult and download for free the draft standard here (Information about standards).

The main changes expected are summarised below:

  • Introduction of a new Food Safety Culture approach in the first section concerning management and their commitment, with requirements on the setting up of a strategy for the development and improvement of a corporate culture in food safety with, for example, an internal communication system to feed back operational information to the management.
  • Review of some of the terminology of the HACCP system in order to comply with various international legislation, such as the FSMA.
  • A review of the requirements on Food Defence, with a focus on the analysis of internal and external risks (threat).
  • A more stringent approach for controlling subcontracted activities and processes, such as the obligation for GFSI recognized certification for subcontractors.
  • More detailed requirements on the monitoring of the production environment for risk products, with details on sampling, frequency, methods, the aims of analyses carried out on pathogens and alteration.
  • Introduction of pet food into the scope of the BRC
  • Grouping together of current requirements in high-risk and high-care zones, which in principle remain unchanged, into a single new section, section 8.
  • The current voluntary module on traded goods will become a full part of BRC Food, with a new section 9.
  • The disappearance of option 2 of the unannounced audit. This means that there will only be two options (no obligation): the announced or totally unannounced audit.

Next steps?

Seminars will be offered in Autumn 2018.

IFS Food Version 6.1 available

IFS Food Version 6.1 is published now.

Version 6.1 or Version 7 ?

Version 7 of the IFS Food standard has been announced for 2018. This new version was specifically supposed to bring the standard into compliance with GFSI requirements in terms of preventing Food Fraud. As this has to be done before 30 November 2017, it ended be an amendment of the current version 6 with the release of version 6.1 by November 30. Version 7 will not published before end of 2018.

Version 6.1 is avaiable here (under Information about standards)

What’s new with version 6.1 ? 

This new version is consolidating the latest changes which already apply as well as some new ones.

Part 1:

  • update of the Integrity Program protocol
  • incorporation of the “unannounced audit” protocol
  • update with harmonisation of the document compared to the Doctrine (July 2017)

Part 2:

  • 20.3: reformulation of the requirement
  • 2.1 (new): requirements for the prevention of Food Fraud (evaluation of Food Fraud vulnerability, plan to reduce vulnerability, revision of the evaluation at least annually and evaluation and reduction plans in the event of an increase in risks)

Part 5:

  • incorporation of the unannounced audit protocol

What is the schedule?
The new version 6.1 will come into force on 1 July 2018.

Next steps ?

A Blended Learning Course about Food Fraud (webbased learning) will be offered in 2018.

After publication of version 7 interactive seminars will be offered.

  • 03.08.2017

New standard ISO 14001:2015

What you need to know

Dear Customers,

You receive this information about the new ISO 14001:2015 standard in the form of the most frequently asked questions: Link

We wish you a good reading.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Fabienne Saint-Martin and Raphaël Sermet
ISO 14001 survey officers
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New standard FSSC 22000 version 4

What you need to know

Dear Customers,

You receive this information about the new FSSC V4 standard in the form of the most frequently asked questions: Link

We wish you a good reading.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

This list of questions is not exhaustive.
We will be offering in august complementary online meetings to share further comments with you. You will have the opportunity to ask questions or to participate in the discussions. We will inform you on our homepage of the proposed dates.

Ismail Saadi
Survey officer

Development of the standard FSSC 22000 – the most important changes

Following the annual meeting organized by the FSSC Foundation on 26 and 27 September in Amsterdam, some changes have been made for version 4, which will be published early 2017.

The most important news are the following:

  • The introduction of the unannounced audit in the certification cycle: one can expect that surveillance audits will be performed unannounced.
  • New requirements will be introduced and will address the aspects related to fraud and malicious contamination. ProCert will provide training on this.
  • Management of auditor    qualification will be stricter with a new examination system.
  • A new reporting format will be    communicated and applied by all Certification Bodies that will improve transparency and use of data.
  • There will be critical    non-conformities, in addition to minor and majors, and the observations (or proposal for improvement) will not be used anymore.

Your contact person:
Ismail Saadi

Revision de la norme 22000

Since the publication in 2005 the ISO 22000 standard is reviewed the first time.

ISO 22000:2005, the International Standard for food safety management systems, is undergoing a complete revision to bring it up to date with today’s new food safety requirements.

 

After a first draft of the future standard (CD 1: Committee Draft 1), the international working group now has to sift through 190 pages and 1080 comments!

 

The second draft, CD 2, will be finalised in the coming months after the discussion of certain issues raised by these comments. The working group in charge of this revision will hold an internal discussion on the points raised this summer/autumn.

 

A DIS version (Draft International Standard) will most likely be available at the end of the winter. The date of publication is yet to be confirmed (probably late 2017 or early 2018).

 

As a reminder, before its final publication, there is a FDIS phase (Final Draft International Standard).

 

Note that the Codex Alimentarius guidelines on HACCP are also undergoing revision, and that the experts of the Codex Alimentarius Commission are also members of the ISO 22000 working group.

Some essential clarifications are on the agenda:

  • Apply ISO’s new High-Level Structure (HLS) to ISO 22000. This is now mandatory when drafting or revising management system standards (MSS). This new structure sets a framework that makes it easier for businesses to integrate more than one MSS.
  • Provide users of ISO 22000 with a new understanding of the different risk‑based approaches. The concept of risk is used at various levels and it is important for food businesses to distinguish between hazard assessment at the operational level, through the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point system (HACCP), and business risk, where opportunities also form part of the concept.
  • Provide further clarification on how the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle works. This cycle includes two separate PDCA cycles in the standard, one operating inside the other. The first will apply to the management system whilst the second, within the first, will address the operations described in Clause 8, which simultaneously cover the HACCP principles defined by the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
  • Give users a clear description of the differences between Critical Control Points (CCPs), Operational Prerequisite Programmes (OPRPs) and Prerequisite Programmes (PRPs).
  • Clearly define certain definitions and include missing points, such as the action limit for OPRPs.

ProCert will keep you informed as the working group in charge of the revision progresses.