Changes to BRC, IFS and SALSA audit standards
Three accredited food safety standards for food suppliers have changed recently. We report on changes to the BRC (British Retail Consortium), IFS (International Featured Standards) and SALSA (Small and Local Supplier Approval) standards.
The BRC Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 6
The BRC Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 6 has been extensively revised in consultation with senior representatives from major retailers and food service companies, ensuring that it continues to meet the requirements of manufacturers and retailers.
The Standard was first introduced by the BRC in 1998 and now has almost 14,000 certificated sites in over 100 countries across the world. Issue 6 places increased emphasis on good manufacturing practice, including a change in the balance of the number and depth of requirements in favour of the implementation of good manufacturing systems within the factory and greater focus on standardising best practices for auditing the Standard.
Key changes for Issue 6 include:
- Expanded sections on foreign body control, hygiene and housekeeping, and allergens
- Introduction of a new voluntary 2 stage unannounced audit scheme
- A reduced number of clauses to ensure each expresses a significant idea, this will contribute to consistency of grading as requirements are now of similar significance
Issue 6 will come into effect in January 2012. Issue 5 can no longer be used for audits.
IFS Food Standard Issue 6
IFS Food is a GFSI recognised standard for auditing food safety and quality of processes and products of food manufacturers. It concerns food processing companies or companies that pack loose food products. IFS Food applies when products are “processed” or when there is a hazard for product contamination during primary packing.
The IFS Food Standard is important for all food manufacturers, especially those producing private labels, because it contains many requirements related to specifications’ compliance. It supports production and marketing efforts for brand safety and quality. IFS Food standard version 6 has been developed with full and active involvement of certification bodies, retailers, industry and food service companies from all over the world.
Key changes to Issue 6:
• A slightly revised scoring system will be implemented to better identify companies implementing best practices
• Clear rules for determining audit duration have been created, based on a pragmatic calculation tool, which will provide the minimum mandatory audit duration to be applied by all certification bodies,
• IFS Integrity Program, which was created in 2010 to monitor performance of certification bodies and of auditors,will be described in the new audit protocol,
• As IFS Food is not only a food safety but also a quality standard, version 6 will include more quality requirements (e.g. nutritional analyses, more requirements on weight control, more requirements on the quality/quantity of information provided on labelling, etc.),
• In order to comply with GFSI Guidance document version 6, food defence requirements will be introduced in IFS Food audit check-list. Exhaustive guidelines will also be developed in order to help companies implement those requirements, based on risk assessment and – most of all – on legislation of destination country.
• IFS auditors will be approved for products and technology scopes. Technology scopes are newly introduced to improve auditors’ expertise even more on products and processes.
Test audits have been performed during the summer of 2011 in different countries worldwide and in companies producing different kinds of products. IFS Food version 6 was published at the beginning of 2012 for a mandatory implementation in June 2012.
SALSA Standard Issue 3
The SALSA Standard and User Guide have been revised for the second time since its original launch in March 2007. Issue 3, which becomes effective on 31 January 2012, contains a number of minor changes to the wording of requirements in order to clarify their meaning or to help the reader understanding and interpret them correctly.
There is only one change of substance which you should be specifically aware of if you are about to audit or be audited and this is detailed below for convenience. All changes to wording are identifiable by italic font. The changes to wording are all improvements to and not an extension of the standard. They have come about through a continuous feedback mechanism set up by SALSA with their Mentors and Auditors.
Other refinements have originated through advice from the scheme’s Technical Advisory Committee, which is made up of experienced food industry food safety experts from IFST, BRC, BHA and NFU; and representatives from the scheme’s stakeholders such as ASDA, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, 3663 etc.
The only change of substance relates to the traceability section and which the Sea Fish Industry Authority have helped to enhance to allow for provenance claims to be included where it is a requirement of a complimentary scheme such as the Responsible Fishing scheme and Assured Food Standards’ Red Tractor scheme.
The requirement has been split into two parts. 2.4.1 is based on the requirement as found in Issue 2 and 2.4.2 is the new requirement applicable only in circumstances where provenance is linked to a complimentary scheme.