Food Safety

BRCGS Start!

Motivation and benefits

The BRCGS START! Certification Programme is the market-leading food safety certification entry program. It is designed for companies that manufacture processed foods or undertake preparation of primary products.

The standard is based on a comprehensive management system approach and provides manufacturers with a framework to help them produce safe, legal, quality and authentic foods that meet regulatory requirements.

The START! Programme offers two levels of requirements: basic and intermediate.


The program:

  • provides a single standard and protocol that governs an accredited audit by external certification bodies and enables a credible, independent assessment of a company‘s product safety and quality systems.
  • is aligned with the GFSI Global Markets programme (the full Standard is GFSI-benchmarked)
  • provides a clearly defined audit and certification process operated in accordance with the requirements of accreditation
  • uses auditors that meet the demanding competency requirements of BRCGS
  • enables companies achieving basic and intermediate levels to appear in the publicly available part of the BRCGS Directory, thereby recognizing their achievements
  • uses requirements based on the Standard, enabling the basic and intermediate levels to provide effective stepping stones towards full certification (if required by customers)
  • requires completion of corrective actions of any non-conformities before certification at the basic or intermediate level is awarded, thus reducing the need for customers to follow up audit reports.

The START! Programme is designed to encourage continual improvement and assist sites in developing their food safety systems to a point where they can achieve certification to the BRCGS Food Safety Standard.

Target group
  • Small sites where the requirements of the full BRCGS Food Certification Standard may not always be practical or add value as well as sites which are still developing their food safety systems.
  • All manufacturing and packaging stages of the supply chain from primary processing to the manufacturers of retailer branded food products, own branded food products, food ingredients for further processing and products for food service and catering.

The standard is divided into 8 sections:

  • Senior Management Commitment
  • Food Safety Plan – HACCP
  • Food Safety and Quality Management System
  • Site Standards
  • Product Control
  • Process Control
  • Training
  • High Risk, High Care and Ambient High Care Production Risk Zones

The audit duration is typically 6-8 hours. There are three categories of non-conformities: critical, major and minor. The audit is aimed at giving a true picture of the degree of conformity of the operating site. What is specific for the START! Standard is the fact that the company will receive an action plan. All non-conformities will have to be corrected within 28 days. The audit result is not graded, but the site achieves either Basic or Intermediate level.


Quality Austria – Trainings, Zertifizierungs und Begutachtungs GmbH is accredited by Accreditation Austria in accordance with ÖNORM EN ISO/TS 17065 for certifications on the basis of the BRCGS since February 2006 and is therefore approved as an Austrian certification body by BRCGS.

Other relevant standards

BRCGS Standards (Packaging Materials, Storage and Distribution, Gluten-Free and CoC through BRCGS)

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    Our experts

    Impartial. Competent. Trustworthy.


    Mr. Wolfgang Leger-Hillebrand

    Executive Vice President Sector Management Food Safety


    Mr. Stefan Hainzl

    Business Development Food Safety


    Ms. Irmgard Schmoll

    Business Development Food Safety

    Network partner

    Ms. Elisabeth Voltmer

    Network partner, Product Expert Trainings Food Safety

    +43 732 34 23 22