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Has anyone applied for an extension to their upcoming BRCGS Food Audit?

coronavirus extension BRCGS

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#1 smithyj

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 09:40 AM

Hi folks

My client is being super-cautious regarding coronavirus and has asked me whether they can get a BRCGS Food certificate extension rather than have their audit in September. My next port of call will be to speak to our Certification Body, but I was wondering what has been happening in the UK (we still have high and increasing levels of coronavirus compared to most of Europe). Has anyone tried and failed to get an audit extension booked for August / September / October?

Thanks



#2 pHruit

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 12:42 PM

This should still be feasible. We've had one extension via remote audit for a site earlier in the year, and have another one booked for later this month - talking to our CB last week, they have started physical audits again and indeed their auditors are very busy trying to fit in everyone catching up on things, but they are still very much accepting that sites have their own interpretations and approaches as far as current risk levels and appropriate control measures go.
Provided that it is legitimate (i.e. a genuine position, and the client has the documented policies and risk assessments to back it up) then it should still very much be feasible. They should expect this to be scrutinised as a routine thing during the remote assessment, as IMEX these spend more time looking at COVID things that are well outside of the actual standard, than they do on normal audit topics...



#3 SQFconsultant

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Posted 04 August 2020 - 02:28 PM

I'd go for it, especially considering two major factors - the mayhem that may be caused by the planned secondary lockdown and the international monetary re-set that may cause some issues.


Kind regards,

 

Glenn Oster
 
 
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#4 FoodSafetyAPP

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Posted 05 August 2020 - 08:19 AM

Hello. 

 

(this is my experience so far - we are unannounced)

 

We could apply for and extension for 6 months, but would cost something like £1500 and you will be audited on a risk assessment for this. 

 

We chose not to, and to stay unannounced. 

 

We had our unannounced audit 2 weeks ago - we accepted two auditors (this was agreed prior) and they have many measures in place by the certification body. They take their temperature in front you, record it for you, stay 2 meters away, wear face masks etc. - they and the CB's are far more concerned about Covid-19 than you as a site will be, they have to adhere to both their and your site rules. We found it no issue whatsoever. 

 

We were asked about this in April, so i'm not sure if anything has changed, i'm aware they are auditing so i'm not sure if it's almost too late to say no now?



#5 Leila Burin

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Posted 11 August 2020 - 02:10 PM

Hello,

Actually, only your CB can give you an answer on the assessment

 

The rest are specific situations that can or not apply to your situation

 

best regrds,

Leila



#6 DeborahF

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 02:14 PM

Good morning. I am excited to be a new member of this site. I have already found so many good articles and helpful information. I am also new to BRC, I was formally a Food Safety Auditor for SQF, FAMI-QS, and a host of other standards; but never BRC. I am now the QA Manager of a bakery and giving myself a crash course in BRC. 

 

More to your question, I was able to get the extension aprpoved as my audit was scheduled for early June and things were still too risky in my region. We had to do a remote assessment with our scheduled auditor. The assessment was to determine if we were at high risk of a recall or putting BRC at risk during that extra 6 months without an onsite inspection. In addition, the majority of the focus was on what precautions we have implemented in regards to COVID-19. We had to develop a program for visitor screening (questionnaire), employee screening (temps), sanitation activities specific to COVID-19, training/education of COVID-19 and all new policies/procedures related to COVID-19, as well as a COVID-19 related Crisis Management Plan (what will we do if an employee or visitor is known to be positive or exposed or we had to reduce or stop production due to the rate of infections). The rest of the process was the same as a remote or document audit, issued NC's with required CA's, CA approval by the auditor (mine was completing the training for all 450 employees) and then the issuance of the revised certificate.

 

One point not many people are considering/discussing when making this decision is that the extension may impact your next audit window. For instance, I mentioned my regular audit was scheduled for June, with the extension it was pushed back to Nov (could have been as late as Jan) so now my annual cycle will be in Nov/Dec which as you know is around the holidays. My choices now are to have another audit 6 months after this upcoming one or start having them in the winter months going forward. Yes, the cost of the assessment, potentially having another audit 6 months later, and all the other changes could be factor for your facility. Just something to consider.

 

Thanks again for all the good info on this site.

 

Deborah 



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#7 Hien2016

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Posted 03 September 2020 - 10:55 PM

Agreed with Deborah. "The assessment was to determine if we were at high risk of a recall or putting BRC at risk during that extra 6 months without an onsite inspection."

Three of our facilities successfully finished the Risk Assessment in July and Aug. We just received all 3 Extended Certificates as well. The process went fairly smoothly. The challenge we are facing now is scheduling for an onsite audit before our season ends next month. We afraid we cannot have that done due to the travel restrictions and our corporate policy on visiting the manufacturing plants. We reached out to BRC & they informed us that they are aware of the situation are working on the publication of 100% Remote Audit using ICT if onsite audit cannot be done.

Let's wait for that guidance to come out & see if GFSI will support fully remote audits as well. Last I heard that they do not.

 

On a different note, I heard in Aug 2020, BRCGS announced that one in three audits will be unannounced starting Feb 2021. I can’t seem to find that publication on their website https://www.brcgs.com/, but if any of you has that info, please share. Thank you much in advance.

 

Regards,

HT



#8 pHruit

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 07:33 AM

On a different note, I heard in Aug 2020, BRCGS announced that one in three audits will be unannounced starting Feb 2021. I can’t seem to find that publication on their website https://www.brcgs.com/, but if any of you has that info, please share. Thank you much in advance.
 

I suspect the unannounced elements stems from the latest "Version 2020" of the GFSI benchmarking requirements, which is looking at setting a requirement for one in three audits to move to unannounced: https://mygfsi.com/w...2020-vWeb-1.pdf

I can completely understand why, although having seen plenty of sites that go through an annual panic prep/tidy ahead of a known BRC date, I predict this could have an interesting impact on the grade distribution for BRC results ;)

 

The remote audit situation is an interesting one. I'm not convinced that it's a replacement for properly being on site, poking around under equipment, flicking through records rather than seeing what the site wants to show you etc., so I'd understand if GFSI's position continued to be less than positive on this.

Nonetheless the difficulties with travel at the moment are also a challenge that isn't likely to change in the immediate future. Perhaps a specific category of "no fault" certificate suspension is required, to allow sites to let it lapse without causing too many issues. Equally the standards owners could continue to certify remotely and issue certificates under a modified standard that is outside the GFSI benchmarking process. It's then up to the customers of those sites to determine how this risk looks for them in practice, although I could also see that being rather awkward given e.g. BRC's reliance on GFSI-benchmarked certification as an approval method, particularly given that if cert bodies can't get there to audit then it's not really an option for food businesses to send their own auditors either...



#9 trubertq

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Posted 07 September 2020 - 02:26 PM

Has anyone heard that the recertification window has been extended out to the certificate expiry date?

 

My client had an extension audit in May, meaning their re-certification audit is due in November, which would be fine if we weren't in the ROI and they will only accept ROI auditors on site.

 

Pushing the rend of the re-certification window  back until Jan 03 2021 would give us  a chance of getting auditor availability.


I'm entitled to my opinion, even a stopped clock is right twice a day

#10 pHruit

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Posted 07 September 2020 - 05:12 PM

Has anyone heard that the recertification window has been extended out to the certificate expiry date?

 

 

I don't recall hearing anything formal about it, but I'd discuss with the CB concerned - I'd still expect the cert to lapse, but there is provision within the standard for this to not trigger the normal automatic NC that comes with missing the recertification window. Exactly how applicable that would be is going to be difficult to say, but it probably can't hurt to ask. 

Speaking with my former CB a couple of months ago (no longer at a BRC site - feels a bit weird!), my impression was that auditors were extremely booked up already, to the extent that they may not physically be able to get around all sites within the required timeframe, so I'd hope for some more specific position statement from BRC on this.



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#11 trubertq

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Posted 07 September 2020 - 05:51 PM

I've contacted BRCGS but the answer wasn't definitive. I'm going to keepunting down an answer because we could potentially get an audit early December which is only just outside the window.


I'm entitled to my opinion, even a stopped clock is right twice a day

#12 ally1822

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Posted 07 September 2020 - 08:05 PM

I've contacted BRCGS but the answer wasn't definitive. I'm going to keepunting down an answer because we could potentially get an audit early December which is only just outside the window.


Our BRC audit is usually in December and due to the current situation I have just booked for a visit. I was told the same ( you can’t get booked as they are busy ) but I had no problem getting booked in for an internal visit, I wasn’t given the option of a remote audit .


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