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Published on 3 February 2014, the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) Agents and Brokers Standard is arguably the ‘missing link’ in the BRC’s range of standards. It will allow all parts of the food chain – from farm gate to consumer – to be certificated against a globally recognised standard.
 
The importance of agents and brokers in the food chain is often overlooked. They enable business, small and large, to source ingredients and packaging materials cost effectively in a complex global market. They are unique in that they do not manufacture, store or distribute products themselves but facilitate this through the use of third parties. The end user therefore, has limited knowledge of the movement of the goods they are purchasing, traceability through the chain or even the original source.
 
Past experiences, such as chilli powder contaminated with Sudan I, and more recent issues with horsemeat demonstrate how important it is to have knowledge and control of the entire supply chain.

The BRC Agents and Brokers Standard helps address these issues. It also provides a framework for a quality management system focused around hazard and risk assessment of operations, traceability, supplier approval and transparency of the movements of goods.
 
Effective implementation of the standard will not only confirm an organisation’s commitment to sourcing and supplying safe, legal products, it will also demonstrate due diligence.

Who can use the standard?

The scope of the standard encompasses agents, brokers, importers and exporters of food, pet food and packaging materials. It does not apply to consumer products or livestock. The focus is safety, quality and legality.
 
The Standard covers five sections of requirements:

  1. Senior management commitment. 
  2. Hazard and risk analysis. 
  3. Product safety and quality management system.
  4. Supplier and sub-contracted service requirement.
  5. Personnel. 

Audits can take place from March 2014 onwards, once Certification Bodies have registered for the standard and trained their auditors.
 
At SGS, we already have auditors fully trained and ready to help clients benefit from this new global standard.
 
To find out more about the standard, please watch our complimentary webinar ‘New BRC Agents & Brokers - Improving Supply Chain Control
  
Copies of the Standard are available for download, free, from the BRC website.

For further information, please contact: 

Paula Boult
Global Food Certification Manager 
t: + (44) 1934 522917