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BRC publishes revised global standard for packaging and packaging materials

03 July 2015

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has published the fifth issue of its internationally recognised BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials on 1 July 2015, and audits against Issue 5 will begin on 1 January 2016.

The Standard now provides a framework for all types of packaging manufacturers to assist them in the production of safe packaging materials and to manage product quality to meet customers’ requirements. Certification against the Standard is recognised by many brand owners, retailers, food service companies and manufacturers around the world when assessing the capabilities of their suppliers. In response to demand, the Standard has been translated into many languages to facilitate implementation by packaging materials companies across the world.

The Standard has been developed to specify the product safety, quality and operational criteria that must be in place within a packaging manufacturing organisation in order for it to fulfil its obligations with regard to legal compliance and protection of the consumer. The format is designed to allow a company’s premises, operational systems and procedures to be assessed against the requirements of the Standard by a competent third party – the certification body.

What’s new in Issue 5?
The development of Issue 5 followed a wide consultation to understand stakeholders’ requirements. A review of emerging issues was also carried out in the packaging industry and the industries it supplies. The information has been developed and reviewed by a working group composed of stakeholders representing different sectors of the packaging materials manufacturing industry, retailers, brand owners, certification bodies and independent technical experts.

The focus for Issue 5 is:
• a move from ‘good practice’ to ‘best practice’
• the quality management systems process in printed packaging controls
• continuing to ensure consistency of the audit process
• providing a Standard that meets retailers’ and brand owners’ needs to reduce the audit burden
• better recognition of the diversity of the packaging industry and its customers’ demands
• encouraging greater transparency and traceability in the supply chain
• encouraging adoption of the Standard as a means of improving product safety at small sites and facilities where processes are still in development

The requirements of Issue 5 have evolved from those of previous issues. There continues to be an emphasis on management commitment, a hazard and risk analysis-based product safety programme and a supporting quality management system. The objective has been to direct the focus of the audit towards the implementation of good manufacturing practices within the production areas while recognising the diversity and breadth of the packaging industry, and the skills required to audit it. 

Joanna Griffiths BRC Global Standards Technical Manager, said: “The development of Issue 5 has been based on the values of the previous issues while ensuring that the update reflects the latest best practices. The consultation with the users of the Standard set the main focus for the rewrite which was to reduce the need for multiple audits and encourage consistency of the audit process; we believe the working groups have achieved this aim.” 

The BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials Issue 5 will be available on BRC Participate, along with the Interpretation Guideline and additional supporting publications. Recently launched, BRC Participate offers immediate access to all documents relevant to a particular Standard, linking them clause by clause. Printed copies and PDF downloads are also available for purchase from the BRC Bookshop.


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