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#1 laurimer

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 12:20 PM

A general question from someone new to the forum. I am interested in the TYPICAL DECISION PROCESS that a food manufacturer might adopt when choosing between BRC, SQF, IFS and other standards. Has anyone produced a flowchart or similar which will show which of the different standards are most applicable to different circumstances, or the strengths (and weaknesses) of one standard compared to another for different food types, retailers or countries? I am aware of the GFSI initiative which I understand has a leveling effect, but food manufacturers must still have to choose from amongst the standards and must go through some process of assessment and selection. I do not believe that it is now purely geographic since BRC seems to be making some progress in the US and SQF have made significant progress in the Australias. The cost of getting it wrong must be horrendous, so how do you go about making the correct choice?
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#2 cazyncymru

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 07:58 PM

A general question from someone new to the forum. I am interested in the TYPICAL DECISION PROCESS that a food manufacturer might adopt when choosing between BRC, SQF, IFS and other standards. Has anyone produced a flowchart or similar which will show which of the different standards are most applicable to different circumstances, or the strengths (and weaknesses) of one standard compared to another for different food types, retailers or countries? I am aware of the GFSI initiative which I understand has a leveling effect, but food manufacturers must still have to choose from amongst the standards and must go through some process of assessment and selection. I do not believe that it is now purely geographic since BRC seems to be making some progress in the US and SQF have made significant progress in the Australias. The cost of getting it wrong must be horrendous, so how do you go about making the correct choice?



My criteria was....the bloody supermarkets said i had to have BRC

Decision made!

Find out what your customers (current and potential) will accept, and go from there
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#3 Charles.C

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 08:22 PM

Dear laurimer,

BTW, Welcome to the forum :welcome:

My criteria was....the bloody supermarkets said i had to have BRC


Exactly ! I would imagine very few manufacturers deliberately torture themselves by volunteering to be audited at their own expense. Admittedly, the initial versions of BRC were, IMO, more "fun" since I think there was substantially more auditing flexibility. Now it has become more a battle of attrition to survive.
If you plough through the existing standard threads a bit, there are several comparison charts here for the various standards, one particular "claim to fame" for BRC seems to be its particular association with due diligence achievement in the UK, which maybe could introduce bias ?. SQF is distinguished by being able to be read for free but I suspect the global penetration is miniscule outside Oceania. Users of both (again usually forcibly!) seem to believe that IFS is tougher than BRC (perhaps due to its different evaluation style, never used it myself). I have yet to see any comments here regarding implementation of standards vis-a-vis GFSI if that means anything :smile: .

Rgds / Charles.C
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#4 Simon

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 08:53 PM

As Caz and Charles have said it depends what standard is accepted in your operating markets. Some UK companies that supply to the home market and also export to mainland Europe hold dual Certification to BRC and IFS (crazy). As mentioned GFSI reckons these two standards are equivalent (and they are), so theoretically you could have either, but again it depends whether your customer agrees with the GFSI.

GFSI is already backed by many of the large retailers and the hope is in the future that this backing becomes universal alowing one to choose any of the standards under the GFSI umbrella and it being accepted anywhere in the world. This would alllows the respective standard owners to maintain their markets and business whilst minimising duplication and added cost on the food business. It's a worthy goal IMO.

Does this answer your question Laurimer?

:welcome:

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#5 laurimer

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 08:07 AM

No I do not believe its as simple as that any more. For example, in the US the BRC are mounting an offensive campaign to attract new customers (you can see the roadshows on their website) and whilst retailers are represented at such meetings a significant part of the audience are manufacturers who now are faced with a choice. BRC wouldn't incur this expense for no reason at all - they must sniff an opportunity! Even very small specialist suppliers are going global and some must be asking questions about a truly global standard. So is everyone doing as Caz suggested - insisted? - and doing what their current channels to market say in the here and now, or is there anyone out there taking a more strategic approach to the matter for tomorrow?


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#6 GMO

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 09:30 AM

I think in the UK BRC is less optional for the reasons Caz stated but they're trying to get into other markets to become the standard of choice as well.

If you do have a choice, I think you should also look at how you will be audited and whether that suits you. ISO for example is a much longer audit but questionable whether it's better because of that also it tends to be the older branded manufacturers which still use this (but I'm finding more and more are dropping it). BRC is the standard for chilled retailers and more are changing to it in the UK which makes it easier for people to compare sites.

I have honestly never encountered another standard in the UK food industry apart from internal or retailer standards. Don't put it past Tesco actually taking BRC on though now they have their own standard and a much bigger audit team. They do have a habit of going into non core areas and dominating the market!


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#7 Simon

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 09:51 AM

You cannot blame the BRC pushing for growth in new markets, they see an opportunity and they’re going for it. They have a good product and that’s business. I think the big retailers are going down the GFSI route, so I don’t believe it will matter which standard in the future as long as it is GFSI approved. Right or wrong that is my vision.

For example right now Kraft Foods accept Kraft SQE, 3rd party SQE, GMA-SAFE, ISO 22000 or GFSI Approved Certifications (BRC, IFS, Dutch HACCP, SQF 2000). If GMA-SAFE and ISO 22000 can meet the requirements of GFSI in the future and come under that umbrella the supplier has a large choice of certification standards.

The question is will the global food industry and especially the big retailers universally trust GFSI? Well judging by the progress they have made and the businesses that have so far given their backing (Carrefour, Tesco, Metro, Migros, Ahold, Wal-Mart and Delhaize) I believe they will succeed. BRC cannot rule the world, ISO 20000 cannot rule the world, but GFSI can. Why? Because everybody wins. Hurray!

Within that each standard holder such as the BRC will do their utmost to grab market share, hence their assault on the USA.

P.S. GMO I cannot understand why Tesco are pushing ahead with their own standard when they have agreed to GFSI, seems illogical and costly unless they are charging the suppliers.

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#8 laurimer

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 10:01 AM

Simon's comment ... "and come under that umbrella the supplier has a large choice of certification standards" ... brings me back to my original question! How on earth do you go about making the choice? Please keep posting views on the matter - all very much appreciated!


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#9 Simon

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 10:09 AM

We are not at the stage where GFSI umbrella standards are universally accepted by all of our customers (the vision), so until then we can do only one thing and that is go with whatever standard our current customers specify or accept (the reality). If there is another answer please give us a clue Laurimer. :smile:

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#10 laurimer

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Posted 20 June 2008 - 02:59 PM

I am bound to say that the UK retailers seem to be somewhat 'shy' when it comes to writing about standards - on their websites anyway. The nearest I could get was an obscure document in Sainsbury's which implied that it had something to do with BRC standards! The following link to Coles in Australia (which I stress MUST be understood in context) is more the kind of thing I was looking for, and I hope adds to the debate. See http://www.supplier....2001-08-071.pdf If anyone else has seen anything similar, either from a retailer, standards body, certification body, or consultant then perhaps they could add it to this thread.


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#11 cazyncymru

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 12:25 PM

I am bound to say that the UK retailers seem to be somewhat 'shy' when it comes to writing about standards - on their websites anyway. The nearest I could get was an obscure document in Sainsbury's which implied that it had something to do with BRC standards! The following link to Coles in Australia (which I stress MUST be understood in context) is more the kind of thing I was looking for, and I hope adds to the debate. See http://www.supplier....2001-08-071.pdf If anyone else has seen anything similar, either from a retailer, standards body, certification body, or consultant then perhaps they could add it to this thread.



I've found the Tesco approval document. they have a few schemes they like to use.

I've highlighted the relevant section

C x

Attached Files


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#12 Charles.C

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 01:51 PM

Dear laurimer,

As noted above, the choice of standard is frequently pre-determined. However, I can offer some thoughts to yourr query assuming that a choice was available.

You really need to have the actual standards in front of you to see how they compare and match yr expectations or not. Even the BRC food and packaging standards seem to have significantly different formats for similar items. From observation only, the SQF standard seems more down-to-earth compared to BRC which currently appears determined to make itself increasingly incomprehensible IMO (although some of the former’s content seemed debatable accuracy to me).

Any conclusions will surely depend on many things as you obviously know already – eg operational issues like time, cost, audit frequency. It will presumably also relate to yr own preferred flavour as regards the contents and yr specific product / process.

Accordingly I hv tried to do a mini-compilation of some useful items I hv seen recently giving information on some of the above aspects. A few are not quite current so some care in usage is required.

1. Extended Comparison of 6 standards (2006)
A very wide ranging / comparison document. Readable text and quite deep presentation of details and cross-comparisons of BRC, IFS, SQF, Dutch HACCP, Eurepgap, ISO 22000, both the standards themselves and their usage. (Timing limits comments on application of ISO 22000, document is also pre-22004.)

Attached File  certification_programs_food_safety.pdf   799.72KB   253 downloads

2. Detailed 1-page clause-type comparison of 4 standards ( 2005)

Attached File  comparison_food_standards_ISO9000__BRC__IFS__ISO_22000.xls   27.5KB   274 downloads

Some current website links / extracts. Info. quoted is possibly not all of equal neutrality :smile: , -

3. BRC / IFS

- BRC (British Retail Consortium).
- This standard published by the union of British supermarket chains, the BRC, requires documented approval to ensure food quality and safety. Retailers include Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury's.
- IFS (International Food Standard). This food quality and safety standard is published by the union of German supermarket chains, HDE (Hauptverband des Deutschen Einzelhandels).
- It has been adopted by the French equivalent, the FCD (Fédération des entreprises du Commerce et de la Distribution). Retailers include Aldi, Lidl and Metro.

What are the main differences between BRC and IFS?

Both standards are aimed at retailers’ suppliers. Their goal is the same but the paths to achieve that same goal are different. The base of each audit is quite similar but the criteria and their levels differ. A scoring and ranking system exists for IFS but not for BRC. These similarities enable a third party to perform combined audits. However the required reports are so different, there is no potential time saving in reporting on both standards.
The 15 to 20% difference between BRC and IFS can be considered to come from cultural differences. For example, BRC will allow certification of a supplier with a major non-conformity, provided this supplier submits objective evidence that the non-conformity has been corrected within 28 days. On the other hand, IFS will never allow the delivery of a certificate if there is a single major non-conformity.

http://www.bureauver...inessScopeID=-1

4. BRC / IFS

What are main the differences between IFS version 4 and BRC version 3?

The significant differences between IFS and BRC are based on a comparative study between the two standards.

- The BRC standard only distinguishes between "approved" or "disapproved", whereas IFS provides much more detailed notations (A, B, C, D) and auditing report.
- The K.O. criteria are pre-defined in the IFS
- IFS auditors have to prove their competence (application, written and oral examinations)


http://www.food-care...amp;content=faq


5. GFSI in US, esp with respect to Walmart

(A detailed, critical “personal” viewpoint on the current status of GFSI. Includes a quite in-depth interview. I found it very interesting.)

http://www.perishabl...?...08&pundit=1

6. GFSI today

( a short but informative/critical review of some chronological events which are considered to hv determined the current level of harmonisation of food standards via GFSI)(article pub.mid 2005 but appears to read almost current to me; very slow process of change ? )

http://www.foodinter...-its-reach.html

7. Requirements for Harmonisation of food standards (mid. 2007)
( short viewpoint particularly for GFSI / ISO 22000)
http://businessassur...-a-step-closer/

8. audit related – AIB faqs relating to audit prodedure for”GFSI”, BRC, SQF
(appears current, interesting detail of result grading procedure for SQF)
https://www.aibonlin.../FAQforGFSI.pdf.

9. Economic Related

This is primarily a detailed 2006 survey of the various private standards’ impact on developing countries exports’ to EU including comparisons to the existing official regulations. Timing limits comments on ISO22000. Contains a neat, IMO, summary of the typical application of a wide range of standards, (pgs 10-18). Subsequent chapters focus on Eurepgap and BRC.
(Slow dwl to complete, quicker to save)

http://trade.ec.euro...adoc_127969.pdf


Rgds / Charles.C
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#13 laurimer

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 02:01 PM

Thank you caz. Very much appreciated. Perhaps raises more questions than answers - from the way it reads one could ALMOST be forgiven for thinking that for dear old T, what's considered 'best practise' within the USA, UK and Germay just ain't good enough! Interesting times!


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#14 laurimer

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Posted 21 June 2008 - 02:10 PM

Charles. Wow! it must have taken you all day to get this lot together, and will certainly take me some time to wade through, but an immediate THANK YOU for your kind efforts.


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#15 Charles.C

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 02:28 PM

Dear laurimer,

Thks. Yet another example of “Where would we be without the internet” ?

If the digitised books arena ever becomes a practical and (copyright) cost viable IT option, I’m thinking this may trigger another boom since personal access to library grade technical materials is either inconvenient, restricted or non-existent in many locations. The dedicated organisations like Campden / IFST / PUBMED are no doubt wonderful but surely only financially viable for company accounts (I’m guessing, no actual figures). I hv noticed that more journals (particularly older issues) are becoming freely accessable on the IT, perhaps the providers of IT services should consider offering a, say 1%, “copyright” surcharge like libraries to set up a parallel business. Perchance to dream. :biggrin:

Rgds / Charles.C


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#16 Simon

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 08:52 PM

Brilliant research Charles, you've put together a great resource on this. :clap:

Are you any clearer on the decision making process when selecting a food safety standard Laurimer?


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#17 laurimer

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 09:29 PM

Simon - Yes, I have thanked Charles and Caz for their very helpful input and I am currently working my way through all the material. The UN document is particularly useful - excellent, exactly what I was looking for! I hope that this topic is of wider interest to forum members. Please keep relevant comments or information coming - its all really useful stuff.


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#18 Simon

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 07:49 AM

Simon - Yes, I have thanked Charles and Caz for their very helpful input and I am currently working my way through all the material. The UN document is particularly useful - excellent, exactly what I was looking for! I hope that this topic is of wider interest to forum members. Please keep relevant comments or information coming - its all really useful stuff.

I agree Laurimer, as mentioned a superb array of information has been collated here. But still which standard to choose? :rolleyes:
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#19 Ynci

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 08:37 PM

Dear Laurimer...as it has been suggested before...go and ask your top ten customers. Working in Germany, I am well used to the phenomenon of "multiple certifications"...it's mainly the eternal struggle between IFS and BRC Food, and it's fascinating to watch how one standard always tries to "top" the other by issuing yet another version...those to pity are not only the companies but also (and I'm really making a point here!) the stressed auditors who have to sit another bl...y exam (just did my BRC 5 exam, and it wasn't peanuts). Also...don't believe those standards claiming"we will substitute all the others" (see quoted intentions of ISO 22000).
I know it ain't easy...


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#20 laurimer

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 09:16 AM

Thank you for your comments Ynci which are very helpful. From all the documents I have read it is very clear that there is great competition between IFS and BRC for the European Market, and I pity you. I am also interested in US suppliers and the American market. I had another snippet from a US based observer as follows:

"It seems the ultimate answer is either what your customer wants or what costs least. The debate most prevalent in the U.S. lately seems between SQF and BRC. SQF requires audits twice per year. BRC - only annally. SQF offers their standard for free. BRC costs about $180 (U.S.). Both have potential to achieve good results. The other factor is being able to get an audit when you need one. If you must get one in a limited time frame - some companies will switch standards (since they are so similar it can be done...) depending on which type of auditor is available."

Unless they are selling to anglophile customers, why a US based supplier would want to become BRC accredited beats me. After all SQF would appear to do the job and the yanks have NEVER been known to be nepotistic have they? Anyway it seems like your headache is being suffered, or about to be suffered all around the world!

PS! - Germany 2 - Turkey 1 (in the 93rd minute)


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#21 cazyncymru

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 10:26 AM

The debate most prevalent in the U.S. lately seems between SQF and BRC. SQF requires audits twice per year. BRC - only annally. SQF offers their standard for free. BRC costs about $180 (U.S.).


MMM yes, if anyones read BRC Issue 5 , it is a bit Anal!
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#22 laurimer

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 11:12 AM

Now now caz, this is meant to be a serious forum. I double checked my source and that is exactly what she wrote. I like to be accurate on these matters!


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#23 Charles.C

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 03:20 PM

Dear Laurimer,

Tomahto / Tomayto :smile:

Maybe it's a special situation in the US but some of yr quoted data seems a bit strange to me, ie
the audit frequencies from memory may vary from 6 months to 1 yr for both SQF / BRC. If otherwise as per yr quote and other commercial aspects equal (eg audit cost?), I rather agree with you, head for SQF.
(From my last detailed look a long time ago, I seem to remember feeling that SQF was less penetrative than BRC [the UK diligence factor maybe]. This might be classed as an advantage from the applicant's side of course.)
From Ynci's post, GFSI's status in Germany looks a bit dubious. Her "exam" comment also looks to maybe negate the claim in the IFS promotional material I quoted earlier :smile:

Rgds / Charles.C

added : re - audit freq. SQF, after looking back, the info. is rather cryptic but seems to imply 2 "audits"/yr for minimum first 3 years.


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#24 Simon

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 08:45 AM

PS! - Germany 2 - Turkey 1 (in the 93rd minute)

Not a bad guess Mr Pota Laurimer. Can you telll me the lottery number for this Saturday please? :thumbup:

From Ynci's post, GFSI's status in Germany looks a bit dubious. Her "exam" comment also looks to maybe negate the claim in the IFS promotional material I quoted earlier :smile:

Feel free to slap me if I've got it wrong, but you do know that GFSI is not a standard, but a body that is trying to approve standards to set criteria under one umbrella, so that any standard will be accepted.
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Simon Timperley
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#25 Charles.C

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 09:11 PM

Dear Simon,

I probably should have phrased it better, eg - Ynci's post seems to well illustrate, IMO, (in Germany?) the earlier comments regarding GFSI's vision and current reality. Maybe some locations have more readily implemented the vision than others ?? :smile:

Rgds / Charles.C

PS - Seems there are a lot of unifying visions around at the moment - guess what these comments are about -

Its an Absolute Joke to the United Kingdom, I cant believe that Gordon Brown will actually go ahead to this.

He's losing a lot of respect from the British Armed Forces.

The Queen will never allow this is she still had the power, if this did happen, there will be a civil war.

- General. A. Wheeler, Medway, United Kingdom, 18/6/2008 10:51

So this is the real reason for wanting the Lisbon Treaty to succeed. I bet it says somewhere that there will be one EU military force.

This Labour government has continuously sold us down the river for the past 10 years. Now it intends to sell us out to sea!!

- Gary, Essex, 18/6/2008 10:49


http://www.dailymail...tary-force.html
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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C





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