Out of thousands of bulk wholesaler importers in the US, only 22 US agents and brokers comply with the British Retail Consortium Global Standard (BRCGS). We’re proud to be the new US wholesaler. We’d be even prouder if we could convince more agents and brokers to join us.
We’re all about transparency so we won’t lie. The +300-point audit is as strict as they say. It takes at least three months to prepare. Costs can snowball. And if you don’t coordinate it into your teams’ workflows, costs can snowball when you set the process in motion. Without knowing if you’ll receive back one dime from your investment. (Did we mention BRCGS is voluntary and costs approximately $13,000 to apply for an audit?)
We don’t receive an affiliate cent from endorsing the accreditation. Spreading the word is profit enough. Because every accredited US wholesale importer improves the quality and safety of our food, both at home and abroad. If you share our mission, let’s go through the steps leading up to the audit (gauntlet?)
What types of BRC certificates are there?
There are four types of certification schemes.
1. BRC Global Standard for Food Safety
This certification is for food manufacturers and covers food safety and management of product quality in food and ingredient manufacturing, food packaging manufacturing, gluten-free manufacturing, storage, distribution, transportation, and logistics.
2. BRC Global Standard for Storage and Distribution
This certification is for companies that store and distribute food products. It covers the storage and distribution of food products, including temperature control, traceability, and product handling.
3. BRC Global Standard for Agents and Brokers
This certification is for companies that buy, sell, or facilitate the trade of food products but do not manufacture, process, or store the products in their facilities or on their sites.
4. BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials
BRC certification is an internationally recognized mark of excellence for manufacturers of packaging and packaging materials. It helps promote consistency across the supply chain for manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, agents, and brokers.
Choosing the right BRCGS standard for US wholesale importers
When selecting the appropriate BRCGS (British Retail Consortium Global Standard), here are the factors Ingredient Brothers examined carefully before choosing the BRC Agents and Broker Standard.
Nature of products
Where in the distribution chain do you add value? If you’re manufacturing food products, the “BRC Global Standard for Food Safety” was made for you. The “BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials” should be your focus when handling packaging materials.
Supply chain involvement
Evaluate your level of involvement in the supply chain. If you primarily store and distribute food products without extensive processing or manufacturing, look into the “BRC Global Standard for Storage and Distribution.” If you’re facilitating trade and transactions without directly handling products (like Ingredient Brothers), the “BRC Global Standard for Agents and Brokers” is your standard.
Understand the regulatory landscape in the US. Different industries and product categories may have varying compliance requirements. The BRCGS standard you choose should align with or exceed these regulations.
What specific standard do your clients and partners expect you to live up to? 70% of the top 10 global retailers specify or require BRCGS, so consider your company’s long-term goals. If you plan to expand your services or product offerings, choose a standard to accommodate that growth.
Perform a risk assessment of your operations. The BRCGS standard you choose should help address these concerns since a self-gap analysis is the first step to getting started with any of the BRC standards) Where areas of concern in your supply chain need the most extensive improvements.
Assess the resources available to implement and maintain the chosen standard. Some standards require more extensive processes and resources than others.
Research the reputation of each BRCGS standard within your industry. Specific standards might be more recognized and respected, positively impacting your business relationships.
If in doubt, consider seeking guidance from experts, consultants, or organizations specializing in certifications and quality standards.
BRCGS Certification: 10-point checklist
- Step 1: Download the Standard and Interpretation guidelines from the BRCGS Store. These documents will be needed as you move through the steps to getting BRCGS Certified
- Step 2: Request and complete the application form from a certification body such as TÜV SÜD, UK Food Certification, AIB International, or SGS (which is the path Ingredient Brothers chose)
- Step 3: Determine your audit date with the certification body
- Step 4: Conduct an intensive planning and supplier evaluation process
- Step 5: Prepare for the audit by reviewing the BRC Agents and Brokers Global Standard and ensuring that your business meets all of the requirements
- Step 6: Prepare for the audit by reviewing the BRC Agents and Brokers Global Standard and ensuring that your business meets all of the requirements
- Step 7: Review the audit report and address any non-conformances identified during the audit
- Step 8: Provide evidence to the certification body that non-conformances have been addressed and closed out
- Step 9: Receive the BRCGS Agents and Brokers Certification, which demonstrates your business’ dedication to product safety
What is the best BRC grade?
BRC awards an AA, A, B, C, or D grade or a fail, depending on how many non-conformances were raised in your audit. It’s based on the number and type of non-conformances you receive and is awarded as follows:
- AA is 5 or fewer minors
- A is between 6 and 10 minors
- B is between 11 and 16 minors or 1 major and up to 10 minors
- C is between 17 and 24 minors or 1 major and up to 16 minors, or 2 majors and up to 10 minors
- D is between 25 and 30 minors, or 1 major and up to 24 minors, or 2 majors and up to 16 minors
What grade was awarded to Ingredient Brothers? AA 🙂 Go team!
If you’re ready for the challenge, congratulations. But before you begin your gap analysis, we saved the best for last.
The BRCGS certificate for Agents and Brokers is typically valid for only one year. After this period, you’ll have to repeatedly ask your teams to undergo a renewal audit for as long as you want to stay certified. Was it worth it? Brokers and agents are vital in the movement and trading of products. We’re responsible for the safety of the food people eat. Thanks to the BRC framework, Ingredients Brothers better manages our ingredients’ safety, quality, and legality across our distribution ecosystem than yesterday. Which is what we and the BRCGS standard are about.
So, whether you’re in the food, cosmetics, or any other industry, our ingredients are here to inspire innovation and bring a touch of excellence to your creations. Explore the possibilities in our catalog, get in touch with us, and transform your formulations!
What is the BRC certification?
BRC certification is an international food safety standard proving a company’s obsession with industry best practices in the food and beverage industry. Fun fact: The BRC Global Standard for Food Safety was the first to meet the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), established in response to several high-profile outbreaks and recalls that rocked the food industry.
What does the BRC standard stand for?
BRC stands for British Retail Consortium. The organization based in London provides international standards on quality and safety across industries using protocols and guidelines. Those guidelines are crucial to preserving the health and safety of food supplies from consumers to brands and consumers alike.
Is BRCGS the same as BRC?
BRC and BRCGS are related but not the same. BRC stands for British Retail Consortium, a trade association for UK retail businesses working to make a positive difference in the retail industry. On the other hand, BRCGS stands for Brand Reputation through Compliance Global Standard. BRCGS is a globally recognized certification program that sets the benchmark for good manufacturing practices in the food industry.
What are the benefits of BRCGS certification?
- Increased food safety: BRCGS certification helps businesses improve their food safety practices and reduce the risk of foodborne illness
- Enhanced customer confidence: BRCGS certification can help businesses build customer confidence and loyalty by demonstrating their commitment to food safety
- Improved market access: BRCGS certification is recognized by many retailers and food service companies, which can help businesses gain access to new markets and sell their products to more customers
- Reduced costs: BRCGS certification can help businesses reduce costs by preventing food recalls and other food safety incidents
- Improved compliance with regulations: BRCGS certification is aligned with international food safety regulations, which can help businesses comply with the requirements of regulators and avoid fines or penalties
What are the requirements for BRCGS certification?
- Having a documented food safety management system (FSMS) in place
- Implementing HACCP principles
- Conducting regular food safety audits
- Maintaining accurate records
- Training employees on food safety
What’s the difference between BRCGS and FSMA?
FSMA and BRCGS are important food safety regulations but differ in scope, approach, enforcement, requirements, and auditing. While FSMA is a US law that applies to all food products sold in the US, BRCGS is a global standard for food manufacturers and suppliers worldwide. BRCGS certification can complement the requirements of FSMA and provide additional benefits, such as access to global markets, enhanced brand reputation, improved safety, compliance with distributor requirements, and reduced risk of recalls.