Key Upcoming Changes to BRC Food Safety Standard

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) will publish Issue 8 of their Global Standard for Food Safety on 1st August with audits commencing on 1 February 2019. Below are some of the key changes between Issue 7 and Issue 8 that we think you should be aware of to help you start to prepare for its introduction.  If you need any help, let us know via email on

1.      Product Safety Culture – there will be an increased focus on the food safety culture being embedded throughout the organisation, so the auditor will be looking for evidence of training at all levels within the business, and potentially encouragement / opportunities for staff to whistle-blow when they witness bad practice.

2.      Security & Food Defence – issue 8 will require companies to have a documented risk assessment (threat assessment) of the potential risk to products from any deliberate attempt to inflict contamination or damage. The output from this should be a threat assessment plan which should be formally reviewed annually. Where raw materials or products are at particular risk, the plan should include steps to mitigate those risks. Site security and people access will therefore also be scrutinised more closely and therefore may need to be tested.

3.      Electronic Documentation – there is far more acceptance and acknowledgement that documents may be stored electronically in this Issue, and they have therefore included more on data security and potential for cyber-attacks. Electronic data must be secured, password protected and backed up.

4.      Lab Tests – it will now require relevant personnel to demonstrate they understand the significance of test results and that prompt action is taken. This may mean that staff will need to be trained in interpreting lab test results.

5.      Pet Food – to comply with GFSI requirements pet food will now be included, this excludes animal feed.

6.      Environmental Monitoring – this requirement has been expanded to ensure that potential contamination risks are identified through monitoring programmes meaning, corrective action can be taken before product contamination occurs.

International Alignment – it is clear that the introduction of FSMA has had an influence on this issue of the standard with some US terms such as HARPC (Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls) and cross contact (instead of cross contamination) being included.

These are just a few of the changes that stood out to us, and the standard is still in final draft format but we will continue to monitor and update you on any others we become aware of.  We will also look at some of the key changes in more depth over the next few months. For assistance with any of these, in particular the Security and Food Defence requirements, please contact us via email on or call us on +44 (0)118 935 7242.