The global Standard for packaging and packaging materials places control of hygiene and product safety for manufacturers of packaging materials in the centre of interest and was originally published by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) in cooperation with the Institute of Packaging (IoP).
The Standard provides an international framework for all types of packaging manufacturers to assist them in the production of safe packaging materials and to manage product quality to meet customers’ requirements. Certification according to the Standard is recognised by many brand owners, retailers, food service companies and manufacturers around the world when assessing the capabilities of their suppliers.
The Standard has been developed to specify the product safety, quality and operational criteria that must be in place within a packaging manufacturing organization in order for it to fulfil its obligations with regard to legal compliance and protection of the consumer. The format is designed to allow a company’s premises, operational systems and procedures to be assessed against the requirements of the Standard by a competent third party – the certification body.
Adoption of the Standard leads to a number of benefits:
- internationally recognised, GFSI-benchmarked
- provides a single Standard and protocol that governs an accredited audit by third party certification bodies, allowing a credible independent assessment of a company’s product safety and quality systems
- listing in the publicly available BRC Global Standards Directory
- recognition of achievements and use of a logo for marketing purposes
- is comprehensive in scope (quality, legality and product safety)
- addresses part of the legislative requirements of the packaging manufacturer/supplier, packer/filler and retailer
- enables companies to ensure their suppliers are following good practice in product safety
- provides a framework for the development of quality and hygiene management systems in companies, encouraging continuous improvement, reduction of waste and increased efficiency
- provides a range of audit options, including announced and unannounced audit programmes
- part of a scheme offering an array of training, education and technical support
The Standard sets out the requirements for manufacturers of packaging and packaging materials for food and non food applications.
It is also intended to apply to prior operations (e.g. production of packaging materials for conversion or printing); operations that are supplying packaging material from stock where additional product processing or repacking occurs; packaging manufacturers who also produce consumer-disposable goods that come into contact with food (e.g. disposable plastic drinking cups, aluminium foil) and manufacture and supply of other materials that are unconverted or semi-converted and used or incorporated (e.g. coatings and adhesives), where this is based on a risk analysis and mutually agreed on among those involved.
The Standard shall not apply to packaging or materials that do not undergo any process at the site audited, or to activities relating to wholesale, importation, distribution or storage outside the direct control of the company.
The development of Issue 5 followed a wide consultation to understand stakeholders’ requirements. A review of emerging issues was also carried out in the packaging industry and the industries it supplies.
There are three categories of nonconformities: 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 global standard is the fact that the company will receive an action plan. All non-conformities will have to be eliminated within 28 days. If the audit result is good, the next audit will take place in 12 months. If a defined amount of non-conformities has been found, the next audit will take place in six months. Organizations will be reviewed for implementation of requirements similarly to ISO 9000, hazard and risk management, the technical management system, the work environment, contamination control and personnel hygiene.
Quality Austria - Trainings, Zertifizierungs und Begutachtungs GmbH has been accredited by the BMDW in accordance with ÖNORM EN ISO/TS 17065 for certifications on the basis of the BRC since February 2006 and is therefore approved as an Austrian certification body by the British Retail Consortium BRC.
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