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Issue 4 of the BRC/IOP Standard Introduces Grading System


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Simon

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Posted 13 May 2011 - 07:26 PM

I just posted an update issued by the BRC on the changes between issue 3 and 4 of the BRC/IOP Standard - see here >>

A new dimension (and pressure) is added by this...

Those familiar with the Food Safety and Consumer Product schemes will recognise the principles of grading and subsequent audit frequency based on grading. The grading thresholds in Packaging are the same as in the other Standards, with an A or B grade remaining on a 12 month audit frequency, and a C grade incurring a 6 month audit frequency. D graded sites will not be certificated.

Consequences for major non-conformities against the Statement of Intent of a Fundamental clause are also now in line with that of the Food Safety and Consumer Products Standards. Where such a non-conformity has been identified the site shall not be certificated.


Grading has been a part of the BRC Food Standard for a while. Can any foodies kindly provide us with a 'heads up' on what we can expect and where they draw the line between A & B etc.

Cheers,
Simon

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GMO

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 05:40 PM

Until recently I'd never seen a 'B' grade site but IME there is a different 'feel'. A grade sites have some lapses but generally the site is used to audits, used to controls, has a visible Technical Manager and has established systems (not necessarily long running, just well embedded). B grade sites tend to feel a bit shakier. The Technical Manager may have changed a lot of times in recent years or not be visible on the shop floor. The systems may be fine but people on the floor don't know what they are.

I've never seen a C or D site but I've read an audit for a D site. It basically had no food safety and quality management system, basically what it did have was sketchy and not implemented at all.

I would generally expect to see more quality issues in a B site than any other. An A grade site will have fewer for obvious reasons; they're more in control. C or D sites aren't recording them.

Generally customers expect 'A', will be ok but want improvement from 'B' (depending on the customer) and 'C' is likely to lose you business; D definitely will.



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Simon

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Posted 14 May 2011 - 06:01 PM

Thanks GMO, do you know how many NC's gets you an A, B, C etc. or is it not that scientific.


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George @ Safefood 360°

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 11:30 AM

Hi Simon

The grading system for the food standard is a little complex and in my opinion does not deliver on its original objective of recognising those companies who consistently do well and have a high level of commitment to on-going improvement. I feel the SQF approach of awarding certification on 3 levels depending on the stage of development of the food safety system is more workable.

The scoring system is I believe well intended and designed to give the auditor flexibility when reporting non-conformances and reflecting the holistic position of the company but from my own experience I'm not convinced.

The table below gives a breakdown of how many NC's give a particular Score.

Attached File  BRC Grading System.PNG   226.58KB   101 downloads



GMO

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 04:08 PM

Yep it is a certain number (and depends on the severity) as George said. As for whether it achieves it's aim? IME it does generally. Perhaps one or two of the A grade sites I've seen were lucky (or 'stage managed' well) but generally I've never seen a site rated as an 'A' who should have got a 'C' or 'D'.

It all comes down to quality of auditor and auditing body IMO.



Foodworker

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 05:40 PM

Being an auditor for both BRC Food and Packaging, I feel that a lot of packaging companies will suffer from low grades over the next few years. Up until now, if they have received 2 majors it had very little effect upon them.

Unless they actually told their customers, there was no way that anybody would know - their re-audit date would still be in 12 months.

Now if they get 2 majors they get a Grade C or even D if they have 21or more minors as well. This grade will be shown on the BRC website, they have a revisit within 28 days (extra cost) and the next scheduled audit is 6 months later (extra cost)

A lot of the initial audits particularly I have done have resulted in 2 majors and loads of minors, often more.

Having been on the receiving end of a fair few BRC Food audits, one thing which annoys me about some auditors is that they seem to decide what the grade will be at the start and hunt down the non conformities to meet the grading.



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Simon

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 06:29 PM

Sorry for the late reply and thanks all for your input (thanks for the table George). One question...Cert Bodies have an incentive to raise nonconformities; has/does the scoring system cause more arguments between auditor and auditee?


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